Deer attacks on family pets – and people are on the rise as we continue to witness news reports of such instances throughout the province.
Last week, RCMP had to shoo away an aggressive deer from a woman walking her dog in Okanagan Falls. Less recently, a Kimberly woman was hospitalized after being attacked by a deer while walking her dog.
“We have had a number of dogs injured and beat up this year. There is a generation of urban deer that aren’t that afraid of dogs anymore. Last year we had aggressive behaviour where it actually made contact with a gentleman in Princeton. The deer actually hit him in the head with its hooves,” said Sgt. Jim Beck, the officer in charge of the South Okanagan zone for the Conservation Officer Service, in a recent story reported in Penticton’s Western News.
At what point, we ask, is the Ministry of Environment going to rethink its policy on the handling of deer in urban areas? For years, property owners throughout the Okanagan – Similkameen have received little help from the province when it came to dealing with nuisance deer in their neighbourhoods. Property owners would generally receive a thick packet of information with deer repelling solutions that by and large did not work. As a result, what we have seen in the last ten years especially, is a quantum leap in the construction of ugly deer fencing throughout our urban neighbourhoods, at great expense, and ultimately which have only served to drive the deer into a steadily limited habitat.
We know of a situation where a property owner’s aging dog cannot be left outside unattended because of the possibility of deer with her fawns appearing in the yard at any time. The dog only has a few weeks left in its life, and can’t enjoy what time it has left in the outdoors because of this threat.
It’s time the province changed its policy with respect to deer issues in our communities. The animals need to be taught to fear humans again – for their sake and for our own.