A walker has spoken of her horror at witnessing a dog attack which left three deer dead.
Debbie Ticehurst was walking her pets along a public footpath took place near Newick, on Wednesday afternoon (February 8).
She said, “I heard a couple of dogs barking, then a man shouting. I then saw two herds of deer running in two different directions within 50 years of each other both being chased by dogs.
“One herd ran into the trees whilst the other went across two fields chased by a dark coloured whippet type dog, they disappeared out of sight but the barking persisted.
“As I walked back to my car I noticed the whippet dog running across the field back towards the man but then noticed two deer between two trees on the ground. One was clearly dead but the other was alive and on its back struggling, unable to get up.
“I was horrified and called East Sussex Wildlife Rescue straight away to get help and seek advice.
“As soon as I was off the phone I then noticed a third deer slightly further along the hedgerow struggling to get up too.”
Trevor Weeks, Chris Riddington, Gemma Ashcroft and Kathy Martyn from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) rushed to the scene to try and help the deer.
“The description was quite unusual and it was unclear what we were going to be faced with but we knew we had to get there as quickly as possible in order to try and save any of them. We were also losing light rapidly,” said Trevor.
“This has to be one of the worst scenes I have ever come across, I’ve learnt to be professional when out on a rescue for the sake of the casualties, but this scene was shocking and it just got worse,” added Chris.
Rescuers checked the first female deer which was definitely dead and laying partially on a second deer which was on its back in the hedgerow with its legs twitching.
“I climbed over the fence and covered the deer’s head and Trevor helped me gain control of the female fallow. We carefully turned the deer over onto her front and at first we thought she was going to be suitable for release but it soon became apparent that she had a spinal fracture.”
Kathy said, “We covered her over and I sat with her and left Trevor and Chris to check the third deer.”
“Chris and Gemma were already securing and checking over the third deer, and it quickly became apparent that she also had a broken spine as well as a badly fractured leg too.
“There were other wounds on the deer which may well have been a combination of injuries caused by the dogs, the barbed wire and other deer trampling over them,” said Trevor.
Chris Collinson, from a deer rescue based at Chelwood Gate, met the rescuers on site.
“It was clear to everyone that there was going to be no survivors and Chris had no choice but to humanely shoot the two deer to end their suffering,” said Trevor.
“This has to be the worst case of dogs attacking deer we have ever dealt with and one I sincerely hope I never get called to again.
“I have seen many horrible scenes in my 32 years undertaking wildlife rescue but even I struggled with this incident.
“It was very upsetting and shocking.”
WRAS is pleading with dog owners to be sensible and not to let dogs off a lead if they are not trained and are not controllable.
“We are not just worried about deer, but also for other wildlife including foxes, badgers, rabbits and swans which we regularly get coming in attacked by dogs, but also agricultural animals like sheep too.
“For the sake of the dogs too, you don’t want them running off chasing deer or other animals and running out across a road and getting hit by a car or being injured by the animal they are attacking.
“So please, please, please if you can’t control your dog get it trained and don’t let it off the lead.”
If anyone has any information about the owner of the dogs contact Sussex Police on 101 quoting Ref 756 of 9th Feb 2017.