Buck Deer Attacking Dogs in Orinda, Ca.
I wish there was a better way of dealing with the buck deer in Orinda that has been attacking dogs in their yards, other than shooting it.
Unfortunately, at the present time there doesn’t appear to be one. Maybe this event will give people ideas for dealing more humanely with these kinds of problems in the future.
The deer killed one dog, wounded another and attacked two others over a period of several days. The California Department of Fish and Game has issued a depredation permit for a professional hunter to kill the buck because of its threat to dogs.
I’ve had many phone calls asking me why they don’t just relocate the deer to a new area? I called Eric Larson, DFG deputy regional manager and asked him.
"We don’t relocate wildlife as a practice," he said. "We do it with bears and have done it with wild turkeys. We don’t relocate deer because of the risk of injury to the animal. Relocating a problem animal also just relocates the problem to another area. We also don’t have the staff to do it."
Larson also told me the depredation permit was issued for the hunter to kill the deer because his department was required by state law to do so. "If you can show us damage to your property by a wild animal and request a depredation permit, we cannot refuse."
From my own viewpoint, relocating the deer would also risk relocating any local diseases to a new area. It would also bring the buck into competition with other deer that already live in the new territory and throw them into a tizzy. In other words, it would create lots of new problems.
I personally consider this particular buck’s attacks on multiple dogs to be an aberration. An isolated case. In 35 years of writing my daily newspaper column I’ve never received reports of a deer that tracked down dogs in their yards and attacked them. I talked to Times staff writer Denis Cuff who interviewed people and wrote the Oct. 7 story about the buck. He said the local game warden told him she had never encountered a deer that aggressive in 16 years. The Orinda Police chief told him he’d been a beat cop for many years, patrolling Orinda neighborhoods, and never seen such a problem.
On the other hand, it has happened before. Cuff also told me a DFG biologist told him a relative in Colorado had a dog that was gored to death by a deer. So yes, it’s extremely rare, but it does obviously happen.
Let’s hope it will be many, many years before we encounter it again, in Orinda or anyplace else.
One thing we can all do to help keep it from happening again is to NOT feed the deer. That just attracts them to our yards … where our dogs live.