It's something you don't hear of too often -- a deer killing a dog, but it does happen on occasion, especially when it's an angry doe protecting her fawn.
Joyce Farrey recalled to The Baxter Bulletin the night in May when her 16-year-old Dachshund, Heather, was killed by a deer.
“It gives me shivers just thinking about it,” Farrey said while sitting at her dining room table. “Heather was my baby, and now she’s gone.”
Farrey, who lives in Mountain Home, Arkansas, had just let Heather out into her fenced-in backyard, when she saw a fawn trapped inside the backyard's chain-link fence.
“I opened the door, and I saw something move,” Farrey said. “I saw the deer before Heather did. I knew she was going to be in trouble.”
The dog and the fawn moved toward each other. The fawn then struck Heather with one of its hooves, causing the dog to yelp. Then, the larger doe lept over the fence and viciously attacked the dog, no doubt assuming it was a threat to her fawn.
After the attack, Farrey says the doe jumped back over the fence while the fawn remained inside the backyard. A neighbor opened the fence’s gate to allow the young deer to leave and checked on Heather.
“He told me, ‘I don’t know if you want to see her, she’s hurt pretty bad,’” Farrey said. “I told him to just get her to the veterinarian’s office. I wanted to say goodbye, but I probably didn’t need to see her hurt that bad.”
Heather was treated by her vet, Dr. James Snodgrass, but didn’t survive.
Snodgrass said in addition to Heather’s case, his staff had treated two other small dogs that had been attacked by deer so far this year. A Chihuahua had to have a crushed leg amputated, and another dog suffered a 4- to 5-inch laceration on its back.
“You can’t blame the does,” he said. “Mothers will fight to the death to protect their babies, especially if they’re only a few weeks old.”
He said people often don’t realize how dangerous a deer’s kick or stomp can be.
“They have sharp hooves, and they know how to use them,” he said. “Once you see the results, it’s hard not to think of them as weapons.”
Have you ever witnessed a dog being attacked by a deer?
Stephanie Mallory is a mom, a hunter and Realtree’s PR Coordinator. She’s here to deliver an insider’s look at the outdoor business and give her opinion on all things outdoors—whether you asked for it or not.