By BRINLEY HINEMAN, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — An unexpected attacker has been after dogs in Peachtree City.
Carolyn Taylor and her boyfriend were walking their two dogs, Penny and Aggie, on July 3 when a deer approached them. The doe seemed unbothered by the dogs, even approaching them to check them out. The doe “stared them down” and then charged, Taylor said.
Taylor was visiting her mom in Peachtree City for the Fourth of July. She lives in Wichita, Kansas, and her dogs were unleashed because they respond well to voice commands, she said.
When the doe charged, she ran back to her mom’s house, thinking her dogs would follow her. Running along the trail, she heard Penny, her basset hound, howling in pain.
“She was getting stomped,” Taylor said. Taylor’s boyfriend distracted the deer, and Penny escaped with a cut from the doe’s hooves, but it wasn’t serious enough to require a trip to the vet.
On Saturday, Taylor let Penny and Aggie out in the yard. A doe appeared across the street, watching the dogs. She called them back inside as the deer started walking towards them. The doe, realizing the dogs were inside, even looked in the windows of the house, Taylor said.
“If I had a little kid, I’d be worried,” Taylor said. She’s used to deer encounters in the city, but not like this, she said.
During the summer months in suburban areas surrounded by wooded areas, like Peachtree City, does bring their fawns close to neighborhoods to protect their young from coyotes, said Tina Johannsen, who works for the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division.
Johannsen said aggressive behavior among deer is unusual, but not unheard of. Although typically wary of humans, deer become bold in areas where there are often human encounters. They quickly figure out dogs in yards and on leashes aren’t a threat to them, Johannsen said.
Although Taylor didn’t see any fawns, Johannsen said they were likely there, just well hidden. Simply walking by an area where fawns are can trigger “the mama instinct,” Johannsen said.
Another dog wasn’t as lucky as Penny.
Hunter Wood told WGCL-TV that his beagle, Scratch, was in the backyard when a doe jumped over the fence.
“She was immediately onto the dog. She stomped it and cut its head open,” Wood told the television station.
The dog had to be euthanized a short time later because of the severity of its injuries. It’s not clear whether the same doe attacked both dogs.
Yelling can scare off aggressive deer, Johannsen said: “They’re bold, but not brave.”
In just a few weeks, the fawns will be big enough to move around on their own, and the does will likely stop being aggressive.
“Nature will make this problem go away,” Johannsen said.