Search ends for Linden deer that injured woman

Scooter, a tame deer in Linden, has become the talk of the small community when a search for the animal began after a woman was injured last week.

Virginia Conservation Police Officer Sgt. Carl Martin said the deer knocked over an 81-year-old woman when it hit her with its front legs and hooves. The woman received medical attention for bumps and bruises sustained during the incident.

Martin had been looking for the deer but by Tuesday the search had been called off.

He noted that it is illegal for anyone except a licensed wildlife rehabitator to take a wild animal and raise it as a pet or tame it. Human imprinting on a wild animal, he said, can be dangerous for the animal in the wild because it can alter its behavior.

“Keep the ‘wild’ in wildlife,” he added. “Wildlife is not meant to be turned into pets.”

He added that there are regulations that prohibit the feeding of deer year round.

Biologist Fred Frenzel, of the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, said  that taming a deer can have repercussions on its behavior and survival in the wild.

“They lose their instinctive fear of people and can become dependent on people or sometimes aggressive toward people,” he said. “They can become dependent on humans for food and their lack of fear of people would certainly make them vulnerable to hunting and vehicle collisions.”

The Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries website, http://tiny.cc/2mj7jy, states that deer, like all wild animals, are potentially dangerous when threatened or confined.

“They become aggressive as they mature; males may attack, especially during breeding season. Since 1988, at least 45 deer have attacked humans in the United States or Canada, resulting in 54 injuries and 10 deaths,” the site states.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com