An aggressive deer fatally trampled a dog in its Shore-view backyard last week, prompting the canine’s owner to warn neighbors to keep an eye on their children and small pets.
Pepper, a 9-pound miniature poodle, barked at and chased the doe one morning, as he had many times before. But this time, the deer rose up on its hind legs and beat Pepper with its hoofs as owner Jill Wilson watched in horror.
Wilson, who lives near Lake Owasso, scared the animal away and rushed Pepper, 14, to the veterinarian. But his injuries, which included broken ribs, a punctured lung and loss of function in his legs, were too severe. She was forced to euthanize him.
“Please watch your dogs and small children!” she wrote on her neighborhood Next Door page about the June 3 incident. “I have never seen a deer act in such an aggressive fashion. ... I believe she’s stressed and unpredictable.”
Neighbors offered their condolences, and several others reported seeing the doe with a newborn fawn, leading some to speculate that she was protecting her young.
A few residents recounted their own unsettling run-ins with what appeared to be the same erratic animal.
This week, Wilson’s grown son, who lives in the neighborhood, called 911 after the doe ventured onto his patio and began stomping her feet at him and his 45-pound Australian sheepdog/beagle mix. And she wouldn’t budge.
“Something is clearly wrong with this deer. It was challenging an adult male, as well as the dog,” Wilson said later in an interview. “My son was beyond rattled.”
When Wilson let Pepper outside last Sunday, she hadn’t even noticed the deer until it was too late. “It was a fatal mistake,” Wilson said. “But you don’t expect that kind of behavior.”
Now she’s mourning the loss of a pet she got as a puppy. “It’s absolutely killing me,” said Wilson, who believes Pepper had a few good years left. “He was a constant companion and a constant source of comfort.”
Fawning season runs from late May to early June, according to the Department of Natural Resources. It’s not unusual for fawns to wander off by themselves, but their mothers are usually close by, the agency said. Officials recommend keeping dogs tied on leashes and away from deer.