Dog walkers warned over deer at Richmond and Bushy parks
Dog walkers have been warned to avoid Richmond and Bushy Parks over fears deer may attack animals.
Deer can feel threatened by dogs during the mating season, which starts next week and will finish at the end of October, as the males compete for the female deer.
Large males roar, bark and clash antlers and the presence of dogs may disrupt the deer breeding pattern, affecting the behaviour of the wild animals.
Dog walkers who still choose to walk their pets in Richmond or Bushy Park have been advised by the Royal Parks to keep them on a lead.
In November last year, Fenton the dog became an internet sensation chasing deer in Richmond Park in a video uploaded to YouTube.
So far this year, three deer and two dogs have died in Richmond and Bushy Parks.
In January, a young deer was chased by a dog into an iced-over Pen Ponds in Richmond Park and was put down due to stress and severe hypothermia.
In May, a dog died 18 hours after an incident with a deer in Richmond Park.
Simon Richards, park manager for Richmond and Bushy Parks, said: “Deer are wild animals and can behave unpredictably.
“Observing their reaction and updating our advice to park visitors where necessary is an important part of making sure everyone stays alert and safe, particularly during the mating and birthing seasons.”
Visitors coming to the parks without their pets are advised to keep at least 50m away from the deer and not to feed or photograph them.
To report an injury to a dog or a deer, call Richmond Park on 0300 0612200 or Bushy Park on 0300 0612250.
l Next week we will be featuring a Find Fenton competition. Pick up a copy to find out more.