Fenton Effect? Dogs Chasing Deer To Deaths

Fenton Effect? Dogs Chasing Deer To Deaths

Bosses at a country park may start forcing owners to keep dogs on leads after as many as 30 deer died as a result of being chased.

Bradgate Park in Leicestershire, which has around 500 deer, blames out-of-control dogs for the deaths of between 20 and 30 of its herd in the last few months.

The latest death occurred last week when a dog chased a deer into a brick wall.

The animal broke its neck in the impact and died in front of horrified cafe customers.

Peter Tyldesley, director of Bradgate Park Trust, said the park had always has a problem with deer being chased but staff believe it is getting worse.

He puts it down to a growing lack of consideration and also the 'Fenton effect', after the viral video that showed a dog chasing deer in London's Richmond Park.

He says some people think it is acceptable not to keep a dog under control and think it is just bit of fun to chase deer in the way Fenton did in the popular video.

Mr Tyldesley told Sky News: "Some people get in the park and they don't pay attention.

"They are there chatting with their friends or on their phone but they should be watching their dog.

"They just don't think. Rather than a bit of fun, people and animals can get hurt.

"It's possible that part of this is because of Fenton. I don't think Fenton did us any favours.

"But I think it's a general lack of consideration too. Many people just don't understand how to behave in the country.

"Just the other day we had to tell a parent off for allowing their three or four-year-old child to chase the deer around while they filmed it on their mobile phone.

"If the deer had turned, the child could have been badly hurt."

He has been able to estimate the number of deer killed by from dogs because people have reported seeing chases.

Last week, after the deer died from a broken neck, the park was able to involve the police for their first time.

The owner was spoken to and agreed to make a payment under a restorative justice arrangement.

But, because some deer die from stress several hours after a chase, other irresponsible owners cannot be traced.

Mr Tyldesley said that under the law - as it says on posters at the entrance to the park - staff have the right to shoot dogs that are harassing deer.

He urged anyone who cannot control their animal to keep it on a lead.

The trust will decide within the next few weeks whether to impose the dogs-on-leads policy.

If it is implemented, it will be brought in during calfing season of June and July.