KGO Photo/Dean Smith

This is not a joke — last night’s TV news reported on an attack by a lone deer on Berkeley resident Sarah Lopus (left) and her two dogs, Oliver and Lucy, while they were out walking yesterday afternoon.

The incident happened around lunchtime at the intersection of Colusa and Capistrano. Lopus said the deer came out of nowhere, charged at them and began to kick the dogs. Lopus tried to push the deer off the dogs but it persisted so she crouched down to cover the dogs, at which point the deer started kicking her. She ran down the street with the dogs to escape the deer shouting for help and some neighbors came to her assistance.

Lopus was left with a ripped shirt and a puncture wound in her leg. The pads on Oliver’s paws were ripped open when Lopus dragged him down the street but he is doing fine and Lucy was not harmed.

The California Department of Fish and Game said if this clearly aggressive deer is caught, they will probably have to put it down, since “releasing a deer that attacks an animal is not the proper protocol”.

In a separate incident, the Oakland police shot and killed a deer that had wandered into a backyard in Oakland last weekend, although there had been no attack and apparently no motive for the shooting.

Photo: ABC7 News.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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  1. People encroach on deer and other wild animal habitats, and then – instead of educating themselves about animals and how they operate – want to “put them down” and shoot them? Please – that evil will surely come back around and I can’t say I’ll feel so sorry for the people. Why are dogs elevated (higher than people – especially poor people and people of color) and deer who are generally just trying to survive (and may have had a baby nearby – hence thinking the dogs would come after it) are demonized?? Put the crack pipe down, people…

  2. I am so very sorry for the poor little injured dogs and their owner for having such an unfortunate experience with a deer. But there’s always another side to the story, as many commenters pointed out, in no way reflecting badly on the dogs/person involved!

    Deer hooves can be very sharp, that’s why cowardly hunters will not approach any after bringing them down with bow & arrow. Depending on where the deer was hit, “x” amount of time is suggested before tracking (see any bowhunting magazine!), which could be anywhere from 15 minutes to seral hours or even a day. In the meantime, deer suffer tremendously, bleeding out, drowning in their own blood, staggering through the woods or neighborhoods with protruding arrows. Many deer survive for up to a year, from infection, starvation; the luckier ones, die sooner. About 50% of deer are never tracked or retrieved by hunters, which means that for every deer that was removed, another one dies a horrible death.

    Please see the chronicled story of Braveheart, a deer that was shot with an arrow, and lived for almost a year:

  3. Tim,

    What masterful economy…

    “Bodice ripping deer? What a hoot. And what a kook.”

    In less than ten words you present three malignant false truths used to oppose sustainable and humane wild life management.

    1. “Bodice ripping deer?” Anthropomorphic presentation of animal behavior serves many desires in the human psyche. Unfortunately none of them benefit animals. Even in ironic use, ridiculing the real suffering of animals is unconscionable. Late this summer, when I usually see the scene I described, here in north Berkeley, I’ll post a video and draw your attention to it.

    2. “What a hoot.” or “It’s laughable that wildlife suffers from contact with humans.” We need go no further than the painfully obvious: Wherever there are many of us there are few or none of them. And what wildlife manages to survive among us is deprived of its natural survival instincts by our mechanized society.

    3. “And what a kook.” Vilifying sustainable and humane wild life management practices by reflexively assuming murder is their only option conveniently ignores
    other strategies such as fertility control see:

  4. Truly – you believe that we need to shoot and impale cervids because “deer are staggering around with tongues hanging out?” Seriously? If you are talking about forest fire survivors and drought areas – possibly. Actually, in drought conditions that is possible – with a host of other animals in the same condition. Deer “management” is an urban myth perpetuated by the Bass Pro shops and Cabela’s as well as the state wildlife agencies that believe that they are entirely dependent on recreational killing licenses to support their paychecks. Please look into actual animal biology- understand the rebound effect and the elaborate “quality deer management” programs being sold to state agencies to make sure there continues to be a surplus of live targets. Urban deer management is terminology created by hunting supply stores – killing deer only lowers the numbers for a matter of weeks – until the next animals moves in on the tulips. I am truly shocked that such recreational kill spin doctrine comes from this section of California. However, as we all know – EQ and IQ are not one and the same. Deer”need” to be killed to save them – just like bears and mustangs and oh well …… some people just think ya gotta kill ’em to save ’em.

  5. Why are people going into hysterics over the needless killing of a deer? Because millions are killed by hunters for recreation every year, all over the country! Why is it a crime for a deer to walk onto someopne’s propert?

    Anyone who asks such a ridiculous question just doesn’t get it – it has nothing to do with having no compassion for human beings, it has everything to do with wildlife being treated as aliens and vermin that have no right to exist!

  6. Misplaced and emotional comments comparing people’s reaction to the killing of a deer that walked onto someone’s property and the perceived lack of sympathy for murder vicitms is like comparing apples to oranges! Just because a deer walks onto someone’s property, it doesn’t deserve the death penalty – whatever happened to logic and common sense?

    In the case of the deer attacking the small dogs and the owner, as an animal lover and pet owner, I truly feel sad for their pain, suffering and emotional distress.

    However, one need not look further than this this statement:

    “The California Department of Fish and Game said if this clearly aggressive deer is caught, they will probably have to put it down, since ‘releasing a deer that attacks an animal is not the proper protocol’.”

    Even if deer attack, very rarely, they have clearly been provoked, reasons may not be apparent to an onlooker (or victim, in this case). It is incomprehensible and unconsionable for an “expert” state wildlife agency to utter such a ridiculous statement. This would generally apply to predator-type animals; the theory being that once they get the taste of blood, chances may be higher for future attacks.

    This certainly does NOT apply to deer; the CDFG should know better before making such an outrageous and misleading statement that does nothing to inspire confidence nor promote coexistence with wildlife that we have clearly displaced.

  7. A doe killing is sad, even without elaborate human surmising in the backstory.

    What’s tragic are the deer I see stumbling down my street, long tongues hanging out, so dazed they hardly notice cars honking and swerving. With an average of nearly 1000 vehicles traveling this block each day (last year the city had a cord across the street for a week counting cars ) it’s hardly classic wilderness-urban interface.

    How many of these animals are actually hit by cars? How many die unseen elsewhere of the starvation and dehydration their bodies so clearly show?

    Real compassion for these beautiful creatures requires aggressive population control and relocation practices. Google “urban deer management”.

  8. Local, Oakland Trib columnist, Tammerlin Drummond wonders about the Oakland deer shooting:

    The deer killing, was, without a doubt, a bad thing.

    That said, I must ask: Why are so many people beyond hysterics over the killing of a deer? Yet nary a peep over the more than 100 human beings who are murdered in Oakland every year?

    Oakland Police spokesman Jeff Thomason told me the department has received an average of 50 e-mails per day as well as phone calls from people venting about the deer killing.

    Just to put this in measure? That’s about 10 times the number who contacted police to express concern about the fatal beating of Tianseng Yu last month near the Fox Theater.

    A reader of this newspaper sent an e-mail demanding that the Bay Area News Group include the deer’s picture in our 2010 Homicide series.

    I wish I were kidding, but I am not.

    “We had two people killed last week yet we have yet to receive any calls about that loss of human life,” Thomason said. “Things would change a lot in this city if people had the same outrage for murdered people.”

  9. Maybe this lone deer watched her entire family shot down and murdered including her mom by humans, and finally had enough. Pennsylvania kills over 300,000 deer every year, and we see no newspaper reports of humans attacking deer. How many humans have deer killed? If I was a deer and could get a hold of a semi-automatic weapon, you would be reading about me in the New York Times. In all seriousness, attacks like this are extremely rare, and most likely this was a doe who felt her fawn was being threatened, and was trying to protect her baby, who was likely lying behind a bush in the immediate area. Even though these dogs were small, it is instinct for deer to think wolf and/or coyote and go into protect mode. IMO, how noble that animals will fight and put their lives on the line to protect their babies. Killing this doe for her instictive behavior to protect her fawn is morally wrong, and it would also result in her fawn(s) dying of starvation.

  10. Apparently deer “foraging” is a big problem for you? The wildlife protect their young (as is the case in the recent news stories) far better than many of our citizens. In an area with the high collective IQ Bay Area, it would be wise to plant shrubs and perennials that are not food sources for deer. Also, residents should be aware of the behavior indicators of deer protecting their newborn. Deer do not attack unless their young are threatened. I would suggest that those who fear “foraging” move into more condensed urban living – I suggest a high rise in the center of an industrial area. Please leave the more open, green areas for those of us who appreciate what is left of nature and the living creatures that still inhabit those areas.

  11. A doe will attack ONLY to protect her fawns. This is birthing season. This doe obviously felt the dogs and woman were a threat to her nearby offspring and she was trying to protect her babies. There is no doubt this doe first gave a warning stomp that was unheeded. She also likely gave a warning whistle to warn other animals. Dogs are viewed as predators to deer. To kill is a complete overreaction. To kill her means leaving a baby or two to die somewhere. I am sorry for the fear and wounds the woman and her dogs suffered. But to villify or kill the deer for her instintive maternal protection is wrong. AND to kill a deer for wandering into a yard is unconsionable. I have lived with and studied deer for 13 years. They are gentle, loving creatures from whom we could learn. We kill them for walking, eating and having their young in the habitat we took from them for development. We, not they, are the intruders.

  12. It is pretty close to a riparian corridor, though. It’s about two blocks from where Blackberry Creek gets undergrounded. I know folks that live about a block or two from where Cordonices Creek passes below BART and they get deer foraging in their yards all the time.

  13. What a frightening incident and at Colusa and Capistrano, no less (which is hardly “the bush”)!

    In the more expansive SFGATE version of the Oakland deer shooting incident, the resident in whose backyard the hapless deer was felled commented:

    “I feel they shouldn’t have killed Bambi,” Campbell said. “The Oakland Zoo was right up the street. They could have called the Oakland Zoo and said, ‘Look, you know, we have this little baby deer, can you come down and take it back to the wild?’ ”

    Read more:

    I guess “Bambi” has two faces after all? Maybe we could term this the “Dr. Bambi/Mr. Buck” syndrome?

  14. Not to get all Michael Pollan/Mankas/locavore on you — but does anyone know if urban bow hunting is legal?