A WILDLIFE rescue charity is asking dog owners to keep their animals on leads whilst walking in woodland after a young fawn was killed in Dallington.
East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service was called to Earlsdown at 10.30am on Tuesday following reports a dog had attacked the one month old deer.
Because of difficulties accessing the site, it took rescuers around 30 minutes to reach the stricken animal, but it had already died from its injuries.
Trevor Weeks MBE, founder of East Sussex WRAS, said: “The wounds to it’s rear were very severe, probably the worst I have seen on a dog attack deer.
“There is no way that deer would have survived even if we had got there earlier.”
The team were called to the woodland by the dog’s owner, who was said to have been left “very distraught” by the incident.
The woman’s dog, a labrador, has never attacked a wild animal before.
Trevor said: “I think people forget all dogs are individual.
“One dog of one breed may act in one way, but another dog of the same breed may act in a completely different way.
“The lady on Tuesday morning was extremely upset and did not mean for her dogs to chase the deer or attack the deer.
“It was the first time her dogs have ever done anything like this.”
The woman has said she will now keep her dogs on leads in woodland over the summer and will avoid the area where the incident took place.
A lot of fawns are born in June and July and the mother deer will often leave her young hidden in braken or long grass.
Trevor said: “The youngsters are taught that if there is any disturbance to anchor themselves down, keep quiet and keep still until the last moment. By then the dog is almost on top of them.”
Any dog owners who see their animals attacking a deer should get their dogs away and call for help as soon as possible.
It is the third report of dog attacks on deer that East Sussex WRAS has received in recent weeks.
It costs East Sussex WRAS between £1,000 and £1,500 to care for each fawn which has been injured in a dog attack.
Because of the recession, the charity is struggling to find the funds it needs to care for injuried deer, limiting the number it can take in to the East Sussex WRAS Casualty Care Centre at Whitesmith.
To make a contribution to help the charity, visit www.wildlifeambulance.org