A walker witnessed a horrific uncontrolled dog attack on a herd of deer near Newick just before 5pm on Wednesday 8th February, resulting in the death of three female Fallow deer.
Debbie Ticehurst from Town Little Worth, was walking her dogs along a public footpath when she witnessed the incident. She said “I heard a couple of dogs barking, then a man shouting ‘Luther’ which I assume was one of the dogs names. I then saw two herds of deer running in two different directions within 50 years of each other both being chased by dogs. One herd ran into the trees whilst the other went across two fields chased by a dark coloured whippet type dog, they disappeared out of sight but the barking persisted. As I walked back to my car I noticed the whippet dog running across the field back towards the man but then noticed two deer between two trees on the ground. One was clearly dead but the other was alive and on its back struggling, unable to get up. I was horrified and called East Sussex Wildlife Rescue straight away to get help and seek advice. As soon as I was off the phone I then noticed a third deer slighty further along the hedgerow struggling to get up too. The second dog was smaller and I think a terrier, and very vocal and the man clearly had no control over either dog.”
Trevor Weeks, Chris Riddington, Gemma Ashcroft and Kathy Martyn from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) rushed to the scene to try and help the deer.
“The description was quite unusual and it was unclear what we were going to be faced with but we knew we had to get there as quickly as possible in order to try and save any of them. We were also loosing light rapidly” explained Trevor Weeks MBE founder of East Sussex WRAS.
“This has to be one of the worst scenes I have ever come across, I’ve learnt to be professional when out on a rescue for the sake of the casualties, but this scene was shocking and it just got worse” said rescuer Chris Riddington.
Rescuers checked the first female deer which was definitely dead and laying partially on a second deer which was on its back in the hedgerow with its legs twitching.
“I climbed over the fence and covered the deer’s head and Trevor helped me gain control of the female Fallow. We carefully turned the deer over onto her front and at first we thought she was going to be suitable for release but it soon became apparent that she had a spinal fracture. We covered her over and I sat with her and left Trevor and Chris to check the third deer” said rescuer Kathy Martyn.
“Rescuers Chris and Gemma were already securing and checking over the third deer, and it quickly became apparent that she also had a broken spine as well as a badly fractured leg too. There were other wounds on the deer which may well have been a combination of injuries caused by the dogs, the barbed wire and other deer trampling over them” said Trevor.
Chris Collinson from a deer rescue based at Chelwood Gate, had been contacted by us in advance and met the rescuers on site. “It was clear to everyone that there was going to be no survivors and Chris had no choice but to humanely shoot the two deer to end their suffering” said Trevor.
“This has to be the worst case of dogs attacking deer we have ever dealt with and one I sincerely hope I never get called to again. I have seen many horrible scenes in my 32 years undertaking wildlife rescue but even I struggled with this incident. It was very upsetting and shocking” said Trevor.
WRAS is pleading with dog owners to be sensible and not to let dogs off a lead if they are not trained and are not controllable. “We are not just worried about deer, but also for other wildlife including foxes, badgers, rabbits and swans which we regularly get coming in attacked by dogs, but also agricultural animals like sheep too. For the sake of the dogs too, you don’t want them running off chasing deer or other animals and running out across a road and getting hit by a car or being injured by the animal they are attacking. So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if you can’t control your dog get it trained and don’t let it off the lead. ” said Trevor.
If anyone has any information about the possible owner of the dogs involved in last night's tragic deer deaths, please contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting Ref 756 of 9th Feb 2017.Share this!