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article imageDeer attacks dog in graphic scene caught on video

By Kim I. Hartman     Jul 6, 2010 in Environment
Cranbrook - As man continues to encroach on the forest that has been both home and refuge to countless numbers of wildlife, vicious attacks are becoming common. In this extremely graphic video a female deer pummels a dog while defending her fawn on a city street.
Skip past the video if you are overly sensitive to the suffering of animals and read only the text to learn about dangerous human and wildlife encounters and the deadly attacks that are being reported each week in newspapers across the country and on your local nightly news.
In this video filmed on a residential street in British Columbia a doe and her newborn fawn attract the attention of a cat and numerous spectators.
After the residents started filming the cute cat meets fawn video a neighborhood dog apparently got a little too close to the deer's fawn and she attacked the dog. The deer literally pummeled the poor dog who seemed to have forgotten how to run after being surprised by the charging doe.
Horrified neighbours can be heard in the background screaming and yelling for help to no avail. The deer continued kicking and hurting the old dog. The dog left the incident limping, but is reportedly doing OK, said CTVNews.
Are attacks like this the exception or are they the new rule? Will they continue to be a regular part of the daily news? We set out to find the answer to that question.
A simple Google or YouTube search displayed thousands of matching stories including two separate incidents involving men who were brutally attacked by deer and injured to the point of needing hospitalization.
It is also that time of year when white-tailed deer fawns turn up in fields, backyards, parks and city streets. Concerned citizens want to know what the can do and how to help with what they think is an abandoned animal that now needs to be protected, scooped up and taken home for bottle feeding.
In almost all cases, the best way to help is to simply give the fawn space, leave it alone and move away before the mother returns and teaches you a lesson.
Mother deer leave their fawns alone for large portions of the day. The fawn will settle down and wait for her, curled up in a small ball in that “don’t notice me” position. This is normal and don't disturb a fawn who is laying down. As can be seen in the video a fawn when approached by anything unknown will drop to the ground and crouch until the danger/you have safely passed or until it's mother returns.
If the fawn looks cold, hungry, confused, or sick, call a wildlife center or park ranger. Do not feed the animal. If you must transport the animal, place it in a dog carrier lined with a towel or sheet and cover the carrier with a sheet or towel. Keep it quiet and warm said the NW Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
Fawns are most often born between April 1 and the end of July. You will see their spotted furry bodies pop up along roadsides and at the edges of fields as they rest, eat and grow stronger in preparation for the cold winter months. As much as you think you're helping them, you are in fact putting the young creatures life at risk as well as your own if you attempt to approach one of them for a photo-op or a close encounter, animal kingdom style. Deer often maintain feeding grounds along-side highways which accounts for the high number of deer vs. vehicle animal collisions that deer so rarely win.
A Berkeley California woman and her two dogs were recently attacked in the middle of the afternoon by another deer gone wild. The woman ended up with a ripped shirt and a puncture wound in her leg. One of the dogs was slightly injured.
The California Department of Fish and Game said if this clearly aggressive deer is caught, they will probably have to put it down, since “releasing a deer that attacks an animal (or person) is not the proper protocol”.
An Oregon couple suffered scrapes and bruises last week from falling down on the sidewalk while defending their two dogs from an irate deer. The dogs were unhurt. Cranbrook Police Chief Terry Holderness said they have received five calls from people reporting deer attacks in recent weeks. He says it happens every year, due to so many deer in town and so many people walking their dogs reported
So why are deer striking back at their most intelligent of predators? Wildlife Biologists aren't sure. Todd Smith, editor-in-chief of Outdoor Life said "I've never heard of a deer seeking out and attacking dogs. Most deer are deathly afraid of dogs and they're afraid of people."
A rash of attacks by male deer prompted California wildlife officials to warn people to try and keep their distance from the wild animals and these warnings are still valid today. At Southern Illinois University Carbondale there have been multiple attacks spread out over many years during the past decade. Some contribute this predatory behaviour to a loss of habitat which can make deer much more nervous than they would be otherwise and prone to attacking in defense of what it perceives as unwanted contact and a threat to its young.
Deer are also known for fighting with dogs. Numerous mentions in the news of injured dogs are attributed each year to the dog/deer encounter.
One 76 yr old woman allegedly struck back at a 25 lb fawn and after a few quick whacks to the head with a shovel she is facing charges of animal abuse for 'protecting her flowers.' She said the fawn's eyes contacted hers, like he was going to jump and bite her head off and she was defending herself when she beat the fawn to death according to the woman and her neighbor an area councilman.
Many states are no longer retrieving and rescuing orphaned deer for rehabilitation and release back into the wild because of higher numbers of suspected carries of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD more on this later today) in the deer population.
To reduce risks of infecting larger herds of deer state and federal wildlife divisions and police officers are acting with force to put an animal down, the polite way to say shoot in the head with a service revolver or shotgun, rather then quarantine the deer for testing which would further the risk of spreading this virtually unheard of disease we are just beginning to learn about and understand in hopes of eliminating a disease that for now is only spreading animal to animal.
If you come across a fawn, you know you can't resist trying to take a quick look or picture and it would fruitless to attempt to convince you to immediately walk the other way. Just leave as quickly and quietly as possible. The fawn doesn't need rescued nor does it need your scent upon its beautiful body to attract other predators. Chances are mom is nearby being a good parent by staying away until the minimal danger is past and in this case you are 'the danger' and you're the one at risk of serious injury or death.
For more information on living with deer check out the available web sites. To find a licensed wildlife rehabilitate specialist, call PAWS Wildlife Center at 425.412.4040 or the local-state Department of Natural Resources or a US Fish and Wildlife office and officers in your area.
"We have more white-tailed deer now than we have ever had in the history of the country, said Smith. So it's not surprising we're having more encounters. When deer and people meet, stuff's going to happen."
Experts say leave the wild to the wildlife and seek help from a professional before you attempt contact with any non-domesticated animals.
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