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Hart Park gets new denizen

'Deer Abby' among park's new animals

Posted: December 13, 2013 11:45 p.m.
Updated: December 13, 2013 11:45 p.m.

William S. Hart Park animal keeper Rachael Komulainen kneels down and feeds a deer named Abby on Thursday. The 5 1/2-month-old has been a popular addition to the park since its arrival.

She’s not likely to guide Santa’s sleigh any night soon and her nose doesn’t glow red, but Abby the deer is a big hit at William S. Hart Park barnyard this holiday season.

The 5 1/2-month-old native California mule deer is one of several new denizens of the Newhall park’s barnyard since animal keeper Rachael Komulainen joined the park staff six months ago, she said Friday.

“The deer is just such a star,” she said. “She’s already stealing everybody’s heart.”

Abby (named for the Dear Abby advice columns) was found as a baby on a hiking trail near Bakersfield and taken home by a resident with a good heart but not much understanding of deer, Komulainen said.

When the mule deer proved too much for that resident to handle, she was turned over to the California Wildlife Center in Calabasas.

By then Abby was too old to return to the wild and had lost all fear of humans. She now makes her home in the barnyard at the county park once called home by silent film actor William S. Hart, Komulainen said.

Also relatively new among the barnyard animals are two wild boars named Luke and Leia, siblings that were also turned in to an animal rescue, she said.

“People get very connected in their own way with our animal residents,” the barnyard animal keeper said. But with or without reindeer antlers, Abby has a regular following of fans, she added.

The William S. Hart Park barnyard, which opens at 9 a.m. daily and stays open until 4 p.m. most days, is open every day but Christmas, Komulainen said. Hart Park is at 24151 Newhall Ave. in Newhall.


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