A dog walker has described the horrific moment he discovered two bucks struggling for help as they got caught in a piece of electric fencing.
Paul Aylett was walking his dog with his wife on Sunday morning when he came across the pair in Beech Wood, in Horsham.
The 46-year-old has highlighted the dangers of litter in the countryside as one of the deer died following the ordeal.
The animals were spooked out of the bushes after Paul’s dog started barking. As they ran away he noticed they were both locked together.
He said: “At first I thought they’d locked antlers but as they crashed through the undergrowth with me following close behind it became clear that they were bound together.”
The deer travelled 100m before getting caught on a tree.
“One fell to the ground and the other was still thrashing around,” he said. “I got closer and held them down while trying to call for help.
“They had an old electric fence post and all the wire and tape wrapped so tightly around them that it was obvious I needed some cutters to remove it.”
Paul’s wife went to a nearby home for help and called the RSPCA.
A short while later another dog walker arrived and said he would come back with some cutters.
“We made some progress on cutting them free but the animals were now really distressed, had shallow breathing and little movement,” Paul said.
“After maybe half an hour we could see the base of the antlers clearly and made the call to cut them off to free the animals as there was still no sign of the RSPCA.
“We didn’t want to separate them and then find that they ran away with debris still attached so we had to be sure that all the wire was removed first.”
After freeing them one deer ran off. The other moved a few metres before collapsing.
“The RSPCA inspector arrived and phoned a vet,” Paul said. “They seemed reluctant to come out and said that the chances of recovery were poor without hospitalisation.
“There seemed little option than to euthanize the animal which was such a shame.”
Following the ordeal calls have been made for members of the public to make sure they dispose of their litter when out and about in the countryside.
The spokesman for the RSPCA said: “We would certainly urge people to be cautious with their litter in the countryside, as it can cause a fatal injuries to wildlife, although in this case it is uncertain whether it was dumped litter or fencing which had become loose somehow.”
Paul added: “I thought about this hour and a half of drama later and felt the need to share it with the public so they can be aware of rubbish and debris in our countryside and be considerate enough to look out for it and take it home for safe disposal. “After all we do have a responsibility to share our environment with all creatures.”
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