One dog walker has learnt the importance of keeping your pet on a leash as footage captured in Bushy Park shows.
The video, taken in one of London’s eight Royal Parks and shared on Twitter, shows a dog walker fleeing with his unleashed pet as a some deer chase after them.
Several people took to Twitter to slam the dog walker for his behaviour.
One wrote: ‘Off leash dogs are a big problem for the wildlife of London. We need real consequences for irresponsible dog owners.’
Another said: ‘Those hooves are razor sharp let alone the weight of the beast. I have plenty of photos of people feeding deer and patting them and dogs being attacked. This video is a good illustration of what can happen.’
Pet owners are allowed to bring their dogs into Bushy Park, but they should be kept on leads throughout the park during the deer birthing season, which runs from May to July.
The same rules apply in Richmond Park and will be lifted on August 2.
It is expected that around 300 deer will be born in the parks during the birthing season, and hidden in bracken and long grass by female deer to conceal them from dogs.
Simon Richards, Park Manager for Richmond Park, said: ‘During the deer birthing season, we strongly advise that dogs are not walked in either Richmond or Bushy Parks but, if this is not possible, dogs must be on leads in all areas of the parks.
‘Female deer are afraid of dogs harming their young. Concern for their newborn means they may act defensively towards dogs – they have been known to give chase and attack, even if the dog is at a distance and not acting provocatively.
‘Dog walkers must remain vigilant, avoid areas of dense vegetation and stick to the perimeter of the park.’
Since August 2020, there have been 55 reported incidents of dogs chasing deer, but it is believed that many incidents go unreported.
At least five deer have died as a result of these chases in the past year, and a number of dog owners have appeared in court and been convicted for failing to keep their pet under control.
Dog walkers have been advised to avoid areas of the park shaded in orange on maps and plan their routes in advance.
Visitors are also being urged to give female deer space and not to seek out young deer or pick them up if they see them on their own.
‘Every year, we receive calls about ‘abandoned’ baby deer,’ Mr Richards added. ‘But female deer are excellent mothers, and they are not shirking their responsibility.
‘Instead, they are hiding their young whilst they forage for food to create the milk that they need to nourish their young.
‘Throughout the course of the day, the mother will periodically return to suckle her newborn, but she may reject it if she picks up a human scent, so please do not touch a newborn deer under any circumstances.
‘Even though you may think you’re doing the right thing, you will actually only cause the newborn deer severe stress and, sadly, you may cause it to be abandoned by its mother.’
This article was first published by The Daily Mail on 5 June 2021. Lead Image: Visitors are also being urged to give female deer space and not to seek out young deer or pick them up if they see them on their own in Bushy Park.
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