Damning report into Clissold Park deer deaths

Failure to ensure the pen was “dog-proof” led to the two latest deaths last month

A “horrifying” report into how two deer died in Clissold Park within the space of a week, has revealed that council staff and contractors failed to secure the enclosure.

Hackney Council’s veterinary consultant Peter Green was asked to report after two animals died last month.

On February 13 a dog broke into the enclosure and was seen chasing the herd. A day later a doe was found dead.

Another doe died a week later of internal bleeding, believed to be bought on by the stress of the incident.

Mr Green said: “Factual details of this incident provided to me are inconsistent, but it appears that after the dog was removed one doe was seen to be recumbent but alive as darkness fell.

“By first light (the next day) she was dead and the carcass had been partially scavenged by foxes.”

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He found it “very disappointing” that park officials had not called a vet that evening, while the doe was still alive.

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.

Following this incident, daily fence-checking to make sure it was dog-proof was made a mandatory part of the husbandry of the deer - but Mr Green concludes in his report that council staff and contractors had not fulfilled their duties.

Julia Mazza, spokeswoman for Clissold Park Zoo Watch (CPZW) which was set up after the latest deer deaths by concerned residents calling for the deer to be re-homed, said: “It really is horrifying that two gentle animals should die like this out of neglect.

“Who knows if the first deer was not eaten alive by foxes.

“This is a breach of the law, it’s been going on for a year and they’ve learnt nothing from their mistakes,” she added.

The deer have been subject to several dog attacks since the �9m Lottery Fund redevelopment of the Stoke Newington park began a year ago - because space under the temporary fencing allowed them to slip into the enclosure - and pressure is mounting on Hackney Council to re-home the seven animals that remain.

Cllr Jonathan McShane, cabinet member for community services said the council was still discussing the long term future of the deer with Mr Green.

“We are acting on the recommendations and fast tracking the new enclosure to ensure it is finished as soon as possible,” he said.