Last Saturday morning I was sitting down to eat my breakfast whilst watching TV and I heard what I thought was a loud bird call. It sounded a bit like a peacock call cut short mid-cry. I opened the window to find out if it was coming from my garden. The cry was really loud and I heard it two or three times more but I couldn’t see what was making the call. So I went upstairs to get a better view of the garden.
My house is on a narrow country lane which runs alongside my garden. When I looked out I saw that a dog had pinned a small deer on the side of the road and was biting and shaking it in a frenzied attack. I immediately ran downstairs and out into the road as fast as I could and sprinted up the road to chase the dog off. I found a small roe deer fawn which had what appeared to be abdominal injuries and cuts around its head. It was clearly in great stress. At that point a car approached down the hill so I stopped it and asked the driver to stay blocking the road to stop any other vehicles coming along and running the fawn over. I asked him to wait whilst I pulled my car up because I was going to take it to the local vet. The man helped me carry the fawn and place it gently in my car and I immediately drove off to the vet’s surgery which was only about a minutes drive away.
I parked up at the vets and ran inside to get assistance. It had only been around 5 minutes from the moment I first saw the dog to this point. There was a veterinary nurse on reception and the vet was in the office behind. I explained what had happened and asked them to come out to the car and attend to the injured fawn. They told me that they didn’t deal with wild animals and offered to destroy it for me. I was incredulous and explained that the poor creature was very traumatised and probably had serious internal injuries and needed immediate treatment. They still refused. So I asked them which other vets in the area could help and I’d go there. Begrudgingly they phoned another two local vets. One only dealt with pets and the other provided a service for farm animals. Neither would treat the fawn. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
I asked if they knew of an animal rescue centre anywhere close by. So they said there was a place in Cirencester, around 30 miles away – at least 45 minutes by car. The vet called the rescue centre to confirm they would take the fawn. So I went back to the car to set off. But before I did, I asked the vet one more time to please step outside to check the fawn to see if was possible to make it more comfortable for the journey – maybe to administer a sedative. Finally the vet deigned to come out to see the stricken animal. By this time I had been in the veterinary surgery for around 25 minutes trying to get some help for the fawn.
When I opened the car boot I found that the helpless fawn had just died. I was so angry. I picked up the dead fawn and turned to the vet. She could see the look in my eyes and said matter-of-factly, that it was probably the shock that had killed the fawn.
I don’t know whether the fawn would have survived had the vet treated it immediately, but I will never know. What made me the most cross was the fact that the vet was happy enough to treat domestic pets but couldn’t care less about a wild creature in extreme distress. Maybe she thought she wouldn’t get paid – I would gladly have paid the bill had she asked. I’m also angry that the dog owner, who was nowhere in sight, was so careless as to let a dog run free in the countryside. The field on the other side of the road was full of young lambs so the dog could easily have attacked them too.
If I ever find out who owns the dog, I don’t know what I’d say to them. But I would ask any dog owner who happens to read this to take care to keep their dog on a lead when in the countryside. This carnage need not have happened. When I went to bed that night I couldn’t get that awful screaming out of my mind. I can still hear it now.