Letter: Dog’s death points to need to control deer

Re: Large buck kills dog at Oak Bay residence, Oak Bay News, Sept. 23

My deepest and sincerest condolences to Heather Holmes (Oak Bay News, Sept. 23) on the death of her little Ollie. What a profound and sad loss.

I too am tired of the platitudes and righteousness of the pro-deer lobby in Oak Bay in particular but also in the Greater Victoria area. To read the comments the conservation officer for the South Island zone incenses me even further. At the very least the deer responsible should have been shot. If it had been a cougar there would have no second thought.

I further challenge the officer on his statement, “It’s not a common occurrence” when referring to the attack on the defenceless pet. The number of reported incidences may indeed be low but I suggest the number of actual unreported events is significantly higher.

Indeed, my own family experienced a scary event on Rockland Avenue a few weeks ago when my son-in-law was walking his two leashed dogs and pushing a stroller with my two small grandchildren on board. A doe continued to harass them for a couple of blocks by darting out of gardens at them. The dogs were petrified and my son-in-law and grandchildren were startled to say the least.

I remember at the time my son-in-law having great difficulty to determine how/where to report the incident. In the end, I think it was reported to the police.

As for my own experience, I am constantly chasing deer (commonly three but up to five) out of our yard. We live on a rocky hillside and unfortunately for us deer-proof fencing is prohibitively expensive. So we have few options. The thought of “pretty” flowers was given up a few years ago. Now it is a struggle to chase the vermin off without further destruction of stone walls.

More importantly, though, both my wife and I are regularly startled early in the morning when one or more deer are suddenly awoken from their resting place and charge across the yard and crash through and destroy hedges. I agree wholeheartedly with Heather Holmes when she states that any child could be in danger because of these uncontrolled wild deer.

I have written to the mayor of Oak Bay on a number of occasions about the increasing deer population. It doesn’t take a very sophisticated maths model to forecast the numbers of deer in this community in the future. In our area alone the does are giving birth routinely to twins.

It really is time to take serious action before the problem is completely out of hand. Removal/translocation or vaccination/castration are already redundant on the larger scale. Elimination is the only answer and, likely, the cheapest option.

On a side note, in my last letter to the mayor I suggested the municipality consider property tax reductions or rebates to those properties most affected by these pests. I know in our case our yard has been turned into a lunar landscape by the marauders who no longer know what is edible and what is not.

I sincerely hope that the mayor and council of Oak Bay gain the courage and stand up and do what is right.

Bill Coombe

Oak Bay

 

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