Saturday 14 December 2019

Runaway stag is shot in Dublin city centre

A stag pictured in the Phoenix Park. Picture: Damien Eagers
A stag pictured in the Phoenix Park. Picture: Damien Eagers

Fiona Gibbin

A badly-injured stag was shot by a park ranger after it escaped from the Phoenix Park and turned up at a Dublin Fire Brigade garage.

Firefighters from Phibsborough responded to a call saying the animal had tried to jump the park railings and had become impaled.

The stag ran off, but was later found wandering the streets of Dublin, 1.5 kilometres away.

Wildlife officials judged the animal needed to be put down and it was shot at the garage in Smithfield.

The deer had earlier sustained serious injuries after being impaled on railings.

Firemen from Phibsborough attended the scene early yesterday morning and freed the animal from the railings, but it ran off.

Astonishingly, it turned up again a few hours later at about 9am, at the Dublin Fire Brigade’s garage off North Brunswick Street. This is almost 1.5kilometres from the nearest entrance to the Phoenix Park.

Sub-officer David Snee told the Herald: “We were standing outside chatting in the yard when this deer ran in through the entrance.

“It was running at a canter and was in a very distressed state.”

He said that the animal - which was about four or five years old – was being pursued by members of the gardai and park rangers.

When the deer was inside, the security shutters were lowered in the yard to prevent any further escape.

Mr Snee (50) said the deer was looking for somewhere to hide and took refuge behind a fire engine.

Sadly, wildlife officials judged that the injured animal needed to be put to to be put down and it was shot on the premises a short time later.

A spokesperson for the Office of Public Works – which has responsibility for the Phoenix Park’s 500-strong deer herd - told the Herald: “On humanitarian grounds and with best practice, the deer was put down humanely as the stag was badly injured.”

“It is a very rare occurrence that a deer leaves the Park and in most cases those that do come back in unaided,” they added.

Mr Snee said Dublin Fire Brigade officers are occasionally called out to go to the aid of deer that get in trouble at the park.

Yesterday he said his Phibsborough colleagues managed to free the deer from the railings where it was impaled, but the animal cantered off.

Mr Snee said that it was a shame that the deer had to be put down, but he said once the full extent of its injuries were realised there was no other option.

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