Riley the Labrador is nursing some nasty wounds after being attacked by a buck in her own backyard.
Owner Norm Kelly said his eight-year-old pet is calm and docile, and her injuries indicate she was turning away from the deer when its antlers made contact. Kelly said deer are a common sight on his Henderson Road property.
Riley was attacked about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, just after she had ventured outside.
“All of a sudden we heard this godawful scream,” Kelly said.
He and his son ran out in time to see a buck jump into some bushes and disappear. Riley had to have emergency surgery.
“She’s got two pretty good lacerations on the side of her chest and one on the back of her leg,” Kelly said. “You let your dog out in the backyard, you don’t think in an urban setting you’re going to have that type of incident.
“My message is safety. My message is we’ve got to keep our community safe.”
Kelly said the concentration of deer around his home, in the Henderson/Lansdowne area, is definitely increasing. He said there are incidents involving deer and vehicles, and he is also concerned that children could be hurt by deer.
“I realize something needs to be done,” Kelly said. “I’m not quite sure what that is. Whether it’s a harvest or a cull or whatever, it’s a contentious issue.”
He said he is planning to address the deer issue at Oak Bay council’s meeting on Monday.
Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen agreed that the deer population continues to grow in the municipality. “We are seeing an increase in the deer-human and deer-pet conflicts, and this isn’t the first time that it’s happened in the last little while where a dog has been badly injured. So people really need to be aware of the possibility of their pets being injured in this way.”
There are also dangers for deer, according to an Oct. 14 report by Oak Bay staff. Deer deaths around the municipality have risen from 14 in 2011 to 40 in 2013, with the 2014 total standing at 29 as of the end of September.
Most of the deaths are believed to be from collisions with vehicles.
Steps taken so far by the municipality to control deer include adding signs, organizing a public-education campaign and increasing the fine for feeding deer, Jensen said. That fine rose in February from $100 to $300 for a first offence. Subsequent offences carry a $500 fine.
Oak Bay approved a plan last November to partner with the Capital Regional District in trapping and killing 25 deer. There has been no cull so far, in part because a number of provincial government deer traps — which can be loaned to municipalities — were stolen from a Cranbrook compound in June and burned beyond use.
“It is a difficult issue for many people and certainly was difficult for council to come to grips with,” Jensen said.
Oak Bay staff plan to apply for provincial permits allowing a cull.