A WHITE stag had to be shot dead by a police armed response unit in Bootle.
Despite advice from animal charity, the RSPCA, that the animal could have been sedated and returned to the wild, the force chose to ‘euthanise’ the animal due to concerns that it could become a danger to members of the public and motorists as darkness fell on Sunday, September 26.
The deer was first spotted running around in Bootle from around 8.45am, including the area around Marsh Lane and Hornby Road. It became ‘more distressed as the hours went past’ and was captured at an industrial estate off Melling Road.
A spokesperson for Merseyside police said: “There were concerns for the safety of motorists and Armed Response officers were able to secure the deer on an industrial estate off Melling Road and a veterinary surgeon was called to the scene to monitor the animal’s welfare and assist the officers’ attempts to control the animal.
“Several enquiries were made to find an organisation who could assist with recovering the deer safely, but unfortunately we were unable to get assistance and as the hours went by the deer became more distressed.
“There was no option to let the deer wander as it could be a danger to motorists and members of the public in the area, particularly as the hours of darkness approached. As a result, a decision was made in the early evening to euthanise the deer.”
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said that while the stag could have been sedated, this needs to be done with caution in a public area such as this one, as the deer could startle and run when hit by the dart. This could create a bigger public safety and animal welfare issue.
Although deer traditionally live in forests, moors and parkland, they are becoming more common in urban environments across the UK.
Charles Smith-Jones of the British Deer Society, agreed that sedating it could be more dangerous.
She said: “A large wild animal doesn’t collapse on the spot when shot – it can run away, which could have been even more dangerous.”