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Deer mauled to death by dog in heartbreaking footage before being run over

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A dog owner has been convicted after harrowing footage emerged of his pet mauling a deer to death in a royal park.

Franck Hiribarne, 44, pleaded guilty to the offence and was given a £602 fine to the incident that took place at Richmond Park in October 1, 2020.

Action-camera footage has been released by the Met Police to warn dog owners to keep their pets on a tight rein.

In the clip, a large red setter is seen rushing up to a sitting deer and appear to bite the wild animal before retreating and barking repeatedly in an aggressive manner.

Cyclists and other passers by rush to the scene and form a human barrier between the two animals in a bid to stop any further attack.

The deer then gets up and limps off slowly in a bid to get away from the threat it faces, but it is already suffering a broken leg after been hit by a car during the time it was chased by the dog.

Witnesses later described the dog as "relentless", attacking and biting the deer from behind, dragging her backwards, jumping up, and lunging at her, and continuously running around her attempting to get her.

The deer was later found collapsed in the ferns with a semi-detached tail, open wounds to its back and a broken leg and had to put down by a game keeper.

In a statement to the police, Hiribarne said his dog Alfie had been responding well to "off lead" commands he was giving him as part of training, and had obeyed one to stay when they had encountered deer a short distance away earlier in their walk.

He recalled: "All of a sudden, I and Alfie came across a lone small deer sitting hidden in the long grass in an open area about 150 metres away from the road and both the deer and Alfie were startled by each other.

"The deer sprang up and started to run and Alfie got spooked and ran after the deer. I called Alfie back repeatedly and used my dog whistle too but Alfie was too distracted by the deer and continued to chase it and did not respond.

"I was genuinely shocked and sorry for what had happened and since then I have refrained completely from letting Alfie off 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 offence was contrary to regulation 4(21) of the Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces Regulations 1997 and section 2 of the Parks Regulation (Amendment) Act 1926.

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.”

Simon Richards, Park Manager for Richmond Park, said the incident was the fourth deer that died as a result of dog chases in the park and they have had 58 incidents of dogs chasing deer reported since March 2020.

“It’s illegal for a dog to chase deer in Richmond and Bushy Parks, and owners may face prosecution if caught," he added.

"If you witness a dog chasing a deer, please phone the on-call police officers for Richmond and Bushy Parks via 07920 586546.”

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