Clissold Park deer - believed mauled by dog - found dead on Valentine’s Day

Another deer dies because of inadequate fencing

The council is considering whether Stoke Newington’s Clissold Park is a suitable home for deer, after a doe - believed to have been mauled by a dog - was found dead on Monday.

Concern for the herd’s security and welfare emerged six months ago, when a deer was injured and had to be humanely shot after night-time intruders broke into the enclosure.

The deer have been subjected to dog attacks since the �9m Lottery Fund redevelopment of the park began a year ago, because space under the temporary fencing allowed dogs to slip into their enclosure.

A council commissioned report by deer vet Peter Green said the council had failed to safeguard the welfare of the park’s nine fallow deer, who have “suffered needlessly” during the park’s redevelopment.

The latest incident is under investigation, and local protestors have launched Clissold Park Zoo Watch - calling for relocation of the fallow deer to a larger and more secure home.

They accuse the council of negligence in running Clissold Park’s animal corner – where four rabbits were apparently eaten by a fox during November’s “big freeze.”

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Spokeswoman Denise Bennett said: “The council are legally bound by the Animal Welfare Act, they have a duty of care to the animals they own, including protection from dogs and vandals - in failing in their duty of care the council are breaking the law.

“I’d like to walk in the park and not have my stomach turn at the sight of a highly stressed herd of deer.”

When Mr Green visited the park on August 27, a dog had attacked a deer earlier that day, lacerating its lip.

He concluded that before the �9m refurb began, measures should have been put in place to ensure the deer were protected from intrusion by people and dogs.

The council responded by introducing a night time security guard patrol.

Leading deer expert John Fletcher warned three years ago that Stoke Newington’s Clissold Park enclosure was “unsuitable” for deer, and he recommended leaving the population to dwindle away - but the fertile males were not removed and a fawn was born in November.

More than 1,000 signatures were collected within a week of an online petition in October, calling on Hackney Council to re-home the deer.

Cllr Jonathan McShane, cabinet member for community services said: “This is an extremely upsetting incident for everyone involved with Clissold Park and the deer.”

Clissold Park Zoo Watch plan to picket the park on on Saturday 19 March, for more information email clissoldzoowatch@gmail.com.

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