ONE deer has been killed on average less than every two months by a dog attack at Farnham Park, but what are the authorities doing to prevent such killings?
In the last 13 months, seven deer have died following an attack, the Herald understands, with the latest incident taking place on May 23 when two dogs attacked a young female roe.
Eyewitness Derek Buckle said it happened at around 8.30am just north of the pond at Farnham Park when he saw the two dogs “chasing the deer”.
“They then brought it down and were biting it,” he continued.
“After around five minutes somebody came by and managed to get the dogs off.
“The deer was still alive but bleeding in several places.”
Mr Buckle told the Herald he rang the police, but “they’re not interested”. He then rang Waverley Borough Council who put him through to the dog warden, “but the dog warden is only interested in stray dogs”.
He added there was “no one with the dogs” and after being “shooed off”, the dogs ran “back into the park heading north”.
Nick Macfarlane, countryside ranger at Farnham Park, a medieval deer park, confirmed the deer was a young female roe and received “serious injury to her hind and her neck”.
“She was taken to the vets who made the decision that, due to the nature of the injuries, the deer would need to be put down,” he continued.
“The owner of the dogs is yet to be identified and the police are investigating.”
A Surrey Police spokesperson confirmed they are “conducting an ongoing investigation into the incident”, but said they received a call from a member of the public on “Friday morning (May 24) reporting that two dogs had attacked a deer the previous day (May 23)”.
The spokesperson added: “We have since received further reports and are aware of a video circulating on social media relating to the dog attack.”
A sign at the park states does (female deer) give birth in May and June, adding: “It is illegal to allow your dogs to chase deer and those caught may be liable for prosecution.”
But, as police received the “initial report” of the dog attack “a day after it had occurred”, officers deemed it “didn’t warrant a police response to the scene at that present moment”.
And of reports that seven deer have been killed by dog attacks in the last 13 months, the spokesperson said: “Surrey Police are not aware of all of these incidents and would appreciate the public’s help in reporting them to us so that we can look into them with any evidence people might have.”
The Herald has been told the owner appears to be a “repeat offender” and his dogs are known to be a “problem in the park”, guilty of other deer attacks and chasing cyclists.
She added they are a group of volunteers who “rehome cats in the main”.
But the regional RSPCA branch confirmed they were called, but were “called back to say the deer had sadly passed away”.
A spokesperson said: “Dog owners should have charge and control of their animals in a public place. We are asking dog owners to act responsibly to ensure sad incidents such as this are prevented.
“We want to reiterate to dog owners that there is a very simple way to stop these attacks – please keep your dog on a lead around livestock and wildlife.
“If dog owners can spread the word about being responsible around wildlife and livestock that will really help too.
“Many dogs, if given the opportunity, will chase or show interest in livestock and/or wildlife so even if your pet is normally calm, gentle, obedient and docile, don’t be complacent as they could still chase after or attack an animal.”
Mr Macfarlane continued that Farnham Park is a nature reserve and wildlife should live “free from fear and attack”.
And while some are under the “misconception” there are “too many deer”, Mr Macfarlane said the “populations of deer here are now at a low density, not sufficient to cause significant ecological damage”.
Anyone with information about what happened on May 23 is urged to report it to police by calling 101, quoting reference PR/45190053832.
* See this week’s Farnham Herald for park ranger Nick Macfarlane’s latest column.