Dog owners told to be cautious during deer rutting season

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rutting season deer

Pet charity Blue Cross is warning pet owners to be cautious when it comes to taking their dogs to areas where there are wild deer. Dogs should be kept as far away as possible from wild animals all year, but deer rutting season is a particularly dangerous time for such encounters.

As stags and bucks battle to preserve their ‘harems’, dogs or people coming between a male and female deer in season – or between two charging males – are at serious risk of being injured. Plus, dogs bolting after deer may be at risk of running into a road and being hit by a vehicle.

Image by Helen Yates

Claire Stallard, Animal Behaviourist at Blue Cross, said, “It’s important to keep control of dogs when near wild animals like deer, especially at this time of year. Also, there will be increased activity during the rutting season and your dog may become excited by the extra noise, smell and movement, so it makes sense to keep your distance.

“Avoid walking your dog in deer parks altogether during this time, there are very large numbers of deer in those areas and the risk to your dog will be greater. “If you usually walk in areas where deer prefer to avoid people and your dog is good at coming back when called, it still makes sense to be extra vigilant and keep them close.”

“Dogs may chase deer if they unexpectedly run out in front of them which puts them at great risk.”

Blue Cross conducted a survey earlier this year which revealed that while 42 per cent of dog owners agree dogs should be kept on a lead around livestock, only a quarter (25 per cent) actually do so. The charity is urging dog owners to put dogs on the lead at all times around livestock and wildlife in order to avoid dangerous incidents.

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