A Colorado woman was fined and her pet deer put down after the young buck attacked a neighbour who was walking her dog, according to state wildlife officials.
The incident happened last week on a wooded trail outside Black Forest, Colo., according to a statement from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). The unnamed victim was hospitalized overnight with bruises and serious lacerations to her head, cheek and legs after the attack.
The animal surprised the victim on the trail, knocked her down and thrashed her with its antlers, then chased her home, according to CPW.
“The deer even continued to attack as she frantically opened her garage door,” CPW said in its statement. “The terrifying attack went on several minutes.”
The woman hid between two cars and the animal backed off while she called for help. However, the buck went into attack mode again when a wildlife officer arrived, and the officer ended up euthanizing the animal.
A photo of the euthanized buck shows it had blood on its antlers.
Officials checked the deer for rabies and examined the contents of its stomach. The animal had been eating a regular diet of out-of-season foods, including hay, corn and grain, which indicated it was being fed by humans.
Black Forest resident Tynette Housley, 73, was issued two citations for illegally keeping and feeding a wild animal. The citations and fees added up to a total of US$1,098.50. She was also warned about possessing live wildlife without a licence.
Authorities say Housley adopted the deer as a days-old fawn and raised it as an illegal pet. She told CPW that she initially kept the deer in her home, then moved it to her garage and later kept it on her property.
“We can’t say it enough: wild animals are not pets,” said Frank McGee, CPW’s area wildlife manager for the Pikes Peak region.
McGee added that feeding deer habituates them to humans, which makes them unafraid of strangers.
“That leads to these outcomes that are tragic for both wildlife and people,” he said.
McGee says anyone who finds an orphaned or injured animal should turn it over to licensed wildlife rehabilitators.
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