Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)

Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

Warning: This story contains a graphic image of an injury.

An Esquimalt resident is sounding the alarm after a confrontation with a buck caused serious injury to her dog.

Suzette Goldsworthy let her dog, Nikita, a four-year-old female German shepherd, out into their enclosed backyard at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

“Within seconds I heard a really different kind of yelp and then I saw the buck run past,” she said. “Nikita wasn’t limping and there was nothing showing at that point, but then I saw drops of blood on the floor and noticed the laceration.”

Nikita had a gash one to two centimetres wide.

Goldsworthy was concerned about the potential for internal injuries and took Nikita to Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital later that morning.

“I’m a single mom so I had to take both kids with me,” she said. They waited five hours for the assessment, surgery and then for Nikita to come out of sedation. “It was $1,500 for that, and we still have to go back for two more visits, one to get the drain removed.”

After Goldsworthy posted the incident on her personal Facebook page, a neighbour on the same street replied to say he and his dog were forced to take refuge in someone’s backyard after a female deer protecting her young got very aggressive.

Nikita, a four-year-old German shepherd, has stitches and a drainage tube after a deer encounter in a backyard in Esquimalt. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)

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“I felt like I wanted to give people a heads up that there’s an aggressive buck on our street so I posted a warning and a photo of what it did to my dog on an Esquimalt community Facebook connection,” she said. “I went to add some information about 20 minutes later, but the post had been deleted.”

While she understands the concern for wildlife, she now is worried about her children playing in the back yard.

“I get that people want to protect wildlife, but if my dog had attacked a person or another dog it would be put down,” Goldsworthy said.

She emailed Esquimalt council and Mayor Barb Desjardins with her concerns. In an interview with Black Press Media, Desjardins said wildlife is the responsibility of the province.

“What they have done to a small degree is acknowledge that municipalities have to take certain steps before wildlife management is considered,” she said. Those steps take a minimum of three years to complete. Those steps have been completed and they are waiting for confirmation from the Ministry as to whether Esquimalt can proceed with a pilot study on contraception for deer similar to Oak Bay.

“Oak Bay has spent considerable funds and so has Esquimalt,” she noted. “It is a download. Municipalities doing things separately each time is a waste of resources when we know the challenges in urban areas with deer. Deer know no borders.”

Goldsworthy also emailed the office of her MLA, Mitzi Dean.

“I’m tired of different levels of government passing the buck, no pun intended,” Goldsworthy said. “I love wildlife, but this problem is increasing in urban areas and we need to do something about it.”

READ ALSO: Confrontation with deer sends cyclist to hospital in Oak Bay

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com