The Royal Parks and Met Police have released footage of a dog attack in Richmond Park that resulted in a deer having to be put down, as its owner was fined more than £600 on Friday.
The incident, which took place on 1 October last year, saw 44-year-old Franck Hiribarne from Kingston let his Irish Red Setter off its lead because he believed them to be away from deer, only for them to run across a lone animal.
Hiribarne pled guilty to “causing/permitting an animal they were in charge of to injure another animal in a Royal Park” at Wimbledon Magistrates Court on Friday and was fined £602.
He said: “I was genuinely shocked and sorry for what had happened to the deer. Since the incident, I have refrained completely from letting the dog off the leash in any park.
“I have also taken a special dog trainer specialised in gun dogs to control more accurately any of his hunting instincts. He has made great progress.”
The footage, captured by a passing cyclist who stopped to intervene, shows the severity of the attack.
The dog was described as ‘relentless’ and bit the deer multiple times, as well as causing the animal to be hit by a car as it attempted to escape the dog.
The deer’s injuries, including a broken leg, were too severe and the animal was put down.
Police Sergeant Pete Sturgess, from the Met’s Royal Parks Command Unit, said: “This incident highlights that even the most careful of dog owners may not see a deer until it is too late. Your dog may never have chased the deer before, but once is too many, and this deer paid with her life.
“If you do not know how your dog will react around the deer, or you know they will chase them, then please respect the wildlife by keeping them under control on a lead, or choose an outside space other than Richmond or Bushy Parks to walk off lead.”
This comes after another man from Kingston, 69-year-old David Reay pled guilty to allowing his dog to attack and kill a fallow deer in Richmond Park on 12 September 2020, and was fined a total of £604.
Simon Richards, Park Manager for Richmond Park, added: “Sadly, this was the fourth deer that died over the last year as a result of dog chases in Bushy and Richmond Parks.
“We’ve had 58 incidents of dogs chasing deer reported to us since March 2020, and it’s completely unacceptable. It’s imperative that owners ensure their dogs are under control at all times.
“It’s illegal for a dog to chase deer in Richmond and Bushy Parks, and owners may face prosecution if caught.
“If you witness a dog chasing a deer, please phone the on-call police officers for Richmond and Bushy Parks via 07920 586546.”
You can find out more about how to make sure you’re staying safe around deer in Richmond Park here.