Monday, 18 January 2010

They Call Her The 'Animal Angel'... the publicity blurb on her organisation's website. And that's certainly true.

After all, there was an angel of death, wasn't there?
A red deer which strayed into a Barnstaple garden was put down after a five-hour battle to subdue and safely remove it.

Diana Lewis, from the North Devon Animal Ambulance charity, said the animal had got into the garden at Chaddiford Lane, Pilton. There was a danger it would escape onto the dual carriageway.
So after five fruitless hours, police marksmen were summoned and destroyed it.
She said: "It would have been carnage for the animal and potentially for any people in cars which were confronted by this wild creature.

"We were called to the house at about 9am on Sunday and found the deer was behaving very abnormally.

"It was allowing people to walk right up and approach it, which you should never usually be able to do with these creatures."
Which behaviour led Lewis to conclude it had been in an accident and suffered a concussion. Reasonable in the circumstances?

A family has spoken of its devastation at learning its tame deer had been shot dead when it read it in the Journal last week.

Vets, police and animal charity North Devon Animal Ambulance, had spent five hours on the scene at Chaddiford Lane in Barnstaple, trying to subdue what they believed to be a wild red deer, which was darting dangerously close to the dual carriageway.

But the sad demise of Bambi has come as a blow to Tracey Stentiford, her partner Ian Worth and their heartbroken children, Owen aged eight and Matthew, four, who live at Sloley Barton, Shirwell.
Oh deer dear...

Lewis knows how to prevent these unfortunate mix-ups in future though. Get the government involved!
Diana Lewis from NDDA said none of those people involved in the incident on Sunday, January 3, had any idea that this was a tame, hand-reared creature.

"These are very wild animals and it's exceptionally rare for one to be tame. Why would we have had any idea that this was a tame animal? There was no indication or marking."

She said that tame deer should have a Defra holding number and, if free to roam, should be subject to a Defra movement licence.
Oh, fantastic! That'd help, wouldn't it? Then, instead of chasing the beast around a garden for five hours, you'd just have to walk up to it and say 'Papers, please'...

The 'Fail' has now got the story, and the police are required to explain themselves:
A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said the doe was shot as a last resort.

A spokesman said: 'Having weighed up the potential dangers of what could have happened should the deer have got on the dual carriageway, this was seen as the only option.'
So, the next time you drive past a forest in Britain and a deer leaps out and wrecks your car, you can sue the police for not sending the Flying Deer Squad to shoot it before that happens, right? And all those ponies in the New Forest had better go, too, I guess?

No, of course not. That would be ridiculous.

But the problem here is that when you call the authorities to deal with a problem, and thereby land them with the potential for blame and criticism if something goes wrong, deal with it they will. And not necessarily in a way you'd like.

So maybe people will start to learn that calling 'the authorities' out to resolve every problem, or everything that even looks like it might be a problem, isn't a very good idea...

Incidentally, check out the comments on those two North Devon local paper reports; the commenters are a little cheesed off with Lewis. The typical British contempt for someone who appears to court publicity too much? Or something else?


banned said...

I could do with some post Xmas compo, I'm off to Dartmoor to get 'into a collision' with a pony and get the Devon & Cornwall Police to sort that out.

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

They were quite right to shoot it. It was behaving in a manner experts didn't approve of, and we can't have that sort of thing in Modern Britain.