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Deer violently attacks golden retriever out for a walk
By Barbara Polletta-Dolloff
bpolletta@seacoastonline.com
KINGSTON - Mothers will often do anything to protect their young.
A state wildlife expert says that is what caused a deer to viciously attack a local man’s dog during their daily walk last week.
David Powers, a Chisholm Road resident, was walking his golden retriever on a nature trail located near the old fairground on June 4. He said the normally peaceful 6 a.m. stroll brought him and his canine friend face-to-face with a very aggressive deer.
Powers said that he and his 6-year-old dog, Rascal, had walked about one mile on the trail when the deer came out of the woods.
"Rascal was about 50 feet behind me and I heard him yelp. I turned around and there was a deer on top of him, kicking him all over," Powers said. "I saw the dog go down and it was like I was kicked in the stomach. That dog is like my child to me."
Powers said he didn’t think twice about intervening. He ran at the deer, screaming for it to go away. Initially, his actions worked, but he said the deer made one final charge at him as he went to the dog’s side.
"I just kept yelling for it to get out of there. I didn’t really think about my own safety at the time," Powers said. "Because of Rascal, I have lost 80 pounds, my cholesterol is down. That dog saved my life, so I was not about to let a deer take his."
Powers said that he had to carry the 80-pound dog back to the car, battered, with cuts, abrasions and a badly injured leg. Rascal could no longer walk.
Powers said the dog underwent surgery Thursday morning to repair a torn joint muscle in his leg caused by the attack. Results of the surgery were not available by deadline.
Powers escaped without injury but said he was very emotional about the attack.
"I got back to the car and I was shaking ... Rascal was shaking," he said. "The whole attack lasted probably only one minute, but I just could not believe what I saw."
What makes a deer attack?
Kent Gustafson, deer project leader for New Hampshire Fish and Game in Concord says that he is almost certain that the deer that Powers encountered was a doe that thought she needed to protect her fawn.
"A doe can become fairly aggressive if they feel their fawn is threatened and they would see a dog like they would a coyote or wolf," Gustafson said. "Deer are not typically aggressive, but a mother will do what she thinks she has to protect her young."
Powers said he did not see a fawn nearby, but he does not rule out the explanation.
"I think that a doe protecting her fawn is the likely reason," he said. "People should be careful on that trail and especially at the recreation park nearby."
Guftafson said that though this type of incident is rare, the public should be forewarned that if they see a fawn, they should never approach it.
"Chances are the mother is not far away. It has not been abandoned," he said. "People could cause more problems by trying to go near it. The fawn’s mother could in fact abandon it if it smells a human touch."
In Kingston, officials are asking the public to simply be cautious. Police Chief Donald Briggs Jr. said he patrolled the area of the attack on the police department’s off-highway recreational vehicle the following day.
"I just wanted to make certain there was not some aggressive deer hanging around in that area where people often walk," Briggs said. "I think she moved on and she was probably just trying to protect her young."
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