Posted: 29.04.21 at 12:05 by Ellie Brown
Dog leads will be compulsory in Bushy and Richmond Parks at all times starting next week, Royal Parks have announced.
The ban on off-lead dogs will run from Tuesday 4 May to Monday 2 August and help keep vulnerable deer safe during the May to June birthing season.
Five deer died in the past year as a result of being chased by dogs off their leads, and a number of dog owners have been convicted in court for not having their dog under control.
In total there were 90 reported incidents of off-lead dogs chasing deer in the two parks over the past year, though the real number is likely to be higher.
Simon Richards, Park Manager for Richmond Park, said: "Female deer are afraid of dogs harming their young.
"Concern for their newborn means they may act defensively towards dogs - they have been known to give chase and attack, even if the dog is at a distance and not acting provocatively.
"Dog walkers must remain vigilant, avoid areas of dense vegetation and stick to the perimeter of the park.
"As a dog owner myself, I know this can be frustrating, but it really is for the safety of both deer and dogs.
"We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused and we thank all our visitors for their support with these measures.”
On its website, the Royal Parks wrote: "Deer are instinctively frightened of dogs and this fear has not been helped by recent events."
300 deer are expected to be born in the parks over the next few months.
Visitors to the parks are urged to give new mothers privacy and space.
The Royal Parks has said that under no circumstances should any newborn be picked up.
Simon Richards added: “Every year, we receive calls about ‘abandoned’ baby deer. But female deer are excellent mothers, and they are not shirking their responsibility.
"Instead, they are hiding their young whilst they forage for food to create the milk that they need to nourish their young.
"Throughout the course of the day, the mother will periodically return to suckle her newborn, but she may reject it if she picks up a human scent, so please do not touch a newborn deer under any circumstances.
"Even though you may think you’re doing the right thing, you will actually only cause the newborn deer severe stress and, sadly, you may cause it to be abandoned by its mother.”
To report an injury to a person, dog or deer, please contact:
Richmond Park: 0300 061 2200 or email [email protected]
Bushy Park 0300 061 2250 or email [email protected]
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