Deer suffering “needlessly” during Clissold Park �9million refurbishment

Yet another break-in at Stoke Newington’s deer enclosure

The council has been forced to step up security in Clissold Park, following yet another night-time intrusion on Friday - when three deer were let loose and the new aviary was set on fire.

The incident comes hot on the heels of a scathing report by vet Peter Green, which said the council had failed to safeguard the welfare of the park’s nine fallow deer, who have “suffered needlessly” during the park’s �9million redevelopment.

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

He concluded the fencing - which allowed space for dogs to enter the enclosure - was suitable for a building site, but not a deer enclosure.

He also found the herd was “disturbed and stressed,” hemmed in by noisy construction work, with nowhere to find shelter in the “grossly unsuitable” enclosure.

“They did not settle at all during the time I was observing them,” said Mr Green in his report.

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“Their respiratory rate was elevated, and one younger buck showed signs typical of unacceptable stress, including panting and prolapse of the tongue from the side of the mouth.”

Chris Draper, senior animal welfare officer, for wildlife charity Born Free Foundation, said that the deer had been left in conditions that were “inexcusable and incompatible” with the park’s legal requirement to meet the welfare needs of the deer.

Mr Green’s report was commissioned in August, when a deer was injured and had to be put down after night-time intruders broke into the enclosure.

He concluded that before the refurbishment building began and the deer enclosure’s boundary fence was removed, measures should have been put in place to ensure the deer were protected from intrusion by people and dogs.

Unfortunately yet another incident occurred on Friday night, when vandals broke into the park, set fire to the brand new aviary, and let three deer loose by lifting up the panel fence.

A spokesman for Hackney Council said security guards would now patrol the park at night.

“We fully accept the findings of the report,” he said.

“While the �8.9million redevelopment project continues, we would like to reassure people that we will do our utmost to protect the health, safety and welfare of the animals in Clissold Park.” Anyone with information about last Friday’s incident should contact Hackney Police on 0300 123 1212.