Dog Owner Fined £600 After Pet Mauled Deer In Richmond Park
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The frightened creature - which had run into the road and been hit by the vehicle - later had to be put down because of its injuries, which included a broken leg.
Owner Franck Hiribarne, 44, told magistrates he was in the park last October training his young puppy Alfie, who started chasing a deer.
Wimbledon Magistrates' Court heard how the dog had been allowed to run loose in the park, despite signs telling visitors that pets must be kept on leads.
Hiribarne, a £200,000-a-year marketing businessman, said he lost sight of his dog as it raced after the deer.
When he caught up, he found Alfie surrounded by a group of men next to a stopped car, along withthe bleeding deer lying on the ground.
The deer limped off and was later found collapsed among ferns with a broken leg, grisly hind wounds and her tail practically detached.
Sadly, she eventually had to be put down by a gamekeeper.
Chidi Ikwuakolam, prosecuting, said: "There was a dog chasing and attacking deer and it is also said that during that chase a deer was hit by a car and the deer suffered serious injuries and a broken leg.
"The police arrive, they take statements, they speak to Mr Hiribarne, the owner.
"The deer eventually had to be destroyed due to the injuries sustained and it is made clear in the case summary that the park has protected status as a habitat for wildlife - it is a national nature reserve."
Video footage captured a cyclist showed bystanders rushing to help the deer, trying to fend off the dog - which had bit the deer from behind, dragged her backwards, jumped and lunged at her and continuously chased her.
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Hiribarne - who is vice president for Europe, The Middle East, and Asia, for FORMA Brands and lives in a £1 million house in Kingston-on-Thames, entered a plea of guilty to one charge of permitting a dog of which he was in charge of to chase, worry, or injure an animal.
He told the court: "I'm trying to be responsible and I am trying to train my new dog Alfie, from February - when I adopted him - until the incident, doing some recall exercises.
"He was pretty good until that day when it happened.
Hiribarne explained how his dog and the deer were 'startled by each other', and that Alfie had been too distracted to hear his calls.
He continued: "I pleaded guilty to permitting the dog to chase the deer. My dog is not a dangerous dog. He has never been aggressive to a human being or any animal.
"I was genuinely shocked and sorry for what had happened and since then I have refrained completely from letting Alfie 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.
"I am sorry this happened and I'm sorry for the deer because the injury meant that it had to be put down."
Reading a statement from Richmond Park manager Simon Richards, Ikwuakolam said that park staff had put up signs telling dog owners to either walk their pets outside the park or to put them on leads during rutting season (between September and November), when male deer compete for females and can be aggressive.
He added that The Royal Parks paid around £350 for staff to deal with incident and for the deer to be put down.
Chairman of The Bench Jane Borne ordered Hiribarne to pay a total of £602, including a £133 fine - reduced from the maximum penalty of £200 because of his guilty plea - and £350 compensation to The Royal Parks.
He was also ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge of £85 and £34 respectively.
Borne added: "We are pleased to hear that your dog Alfie has been undergoing training and that while walking you are keeping an eye on him."
Speaking after the hearing, Richards said: "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."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
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