Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Oh ‘Deer’

I just completed one of the oddest assignments in my career as a journalist. Let me explain.

Today, cops and courts editor Dick Hammerstrom came to me and said "I’ve got this great story if you’re interested," which usually means in editor code as "no one wants the crap story."

Barbara Spindle of Deacon Road  in south Stafford County called the newspaper to report that she had a pregnant deer near her house that had been hit by a car. She believed it to be dead. She called numerous agencies and none wanted to come get it because it was on private property.

So, I drove there to chat with her, and sure enough there was a deer carcass near her house. I didn’t know what to do for her. The entire episode frustrated me.

I got back to my desk to hammer out a short piece about the incident, trying to make a funny twist out of her debacle. Here at the FLS we have what is similar to an instant messaging system that sends messages  to every journalist and editor. I sent out a message asking if anyone had a truck and wanted to help me remove a dead deer from someone’s yard.

Jonas Beals stepped up to the plate. I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t.


We stopped at his house, grabbed a box of latex gloves, and we went to work. In a few minutes, we had the deer in the back of his 1990 pick-up truck. We drove it to the Stafford landfill and said goodbye to the deer.

I’ve never stood atop a hill of trash before to dump a deer carcass. A story may run about this tomorrow.

How is that for community journalism?






  • lgross

    …but comparatively speaking.. probably on par with covering the Spotsy BOS on affordable housing!



  • gramps

    service work, Dan. I dare say few, if any, would have responded as you and your friend. Many thanks.

  • johnfgustafson

    Here’s a story that made me feel good. You really helped this woman out, and you set an example for many others. We can’t, and shouldn’t, rely on the government for so many things, and what you did for this woman sets the tone for our community as we deal with the things life throws at us. Quite simply, we help each other to the best of our ability. I now have you in my directory for carcass removal.

  • lgross

    That’s exactly what my wife said as she read the article.

    She said “Does he realize how many phone calls he is going to get now”?

    Dan – you are about to find out that no good deed goes unpunished… but I do admire you for stepping up to the plate…