In the farthest corner of a Southeast post office parking lot, on a day when the temperature hovered somewhere in the 90s yet again, a lone orange cone sat next to a dark heap Friday. Closer inspection — and the smell — revealed that it was the carcass of a dead deer.
“I thought it was just garbage laying there until you saw the deer’s head,” said Isaac Jackson, who frequents the post office at 400 Southern Ave. “They said they called someone but they haven’t shown up. It seems like they would have had it removed by now.”
Jackson said that he noticed the deer two days before, and that it’d been there for eight days. Candus Allen, the post office manager, said that she’d only heard about it midday on Thursday, and that it hadn’t been there that long.
Allen said she called waste management at the Department of Public Works and Animal Control on Thursday and again Friday morning.
“They said they wouldn’t move it because it’s on private, federal property,” said Allen, who couldn’t bring herself to go look at it for fear of an upset stomach. “They said that if we scoot it over to the sidewalk that they could pick it up then.”
The deer sat at the edge of the property, and about three feet away from the parking lot of the next door Chinese carryout. She then called her headquarters and said they’d get it taken care of.
“I thought it was just like roadkill and how they pick that up,” she said. “We’re definitely not overlooking it. These are our regular customers, we don’t want them to have to see that.”
Warnett Barnes, a resident who lives nearby and was leaving the post office Friday, said he saw it when he heard a child say to his mother, “look mom, there’s a deer.”
“It might have gotten hit by a car and probably stumbled over there,” he said.
Robert Bentley, the custodian at the post office, was outraged that none of the District government officials would pick up the carcass.
He talked to government workers in a truck who said that they didn’t have time to take care of it, he said. He said he flagged down two police officers to report the deer, and the second one said he’d call it in.
“What are we gonna do with a deer, put it in a dumpster?” he asked. “That’s hazardous. That’s like dumping a dead body in there.”
The catch is that any private property, federal or not, would have to remove a dead animal on its premises. The Department of Public Works picks up all dead animals from public spaces, said department spokeswoman Linda Grant.
“If it’s private property then the property owner is responsible for maintaining that property,” she said.
We haven’t been able to reach anyone at the post office to confirm if the deer has been picked up yet. Is anyone in the area?