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Penticton  

Penticton woman hid in thorny bush from deer attacking her and her small dog

Deer 'would have killed us'

A senior woman has been left feeling traumatized after an aggressive female deer attacked her and her friend while they were walking their dogs near the Penticton Channel Tuesday. 

Shelley White, 68, and her friend Marilyn, 70, were on the west side of the channel near the dam with their dogs on leashes when suddenly a doe appeared out of nearby bushes. 

"I saw this doe leaping up, bouncing out," White said. "She came right around in front of us with her feet up."

White was terrified, and immediately dove into a nearby bush seeking shelter, bringing her little dog with her and scraping her hands and arms in the process.

"She came up to the front of the bush and there were thorns or something on it, maybe that's why she couldn't get in. I shook the bushes, then she went around the back and she was just glaring at me, and that was one of the most terrifying things I've ever seen," White said.

The doe couldn't access White, so she says it turned away and went after her nearby friend and her large husky/shepherd cross, attacking the dog and managing to kick it into the channel. 

Across the waterway, city construction workers near Coyote Cruises were shouting to try and distract the deer and help the women. 

"They were screaming at us to get a rock, get a stick, but we were frozen," White said. "All of a sudden there was someone behind us, they chased [the doe] back into where she was, and we got away."

White and her friend made it to the Penticton dam bridge and ran across, and sat down by Coyote Cruises.

White says they watched the doe act aggressively toward several other walkers while they waited for conservation officers to arrive. She is grateful to the city workers who helped calm her down and call the authorities. 

"People say, 'She's just protecting her young.' But I really don't care what she's protecting. My dog is licensed, we pay taxes. We're free to walk where we are. But that doe has more rights than we do," White said. "I am terrified. I am traumatized."

She recalls that a conservation officer arrived and assessed the situation, but to her knowledge, did not euthanize or relocate the deer. 

"He said if we kill her, we kill three," White said, referring to the nearby fawns. "The city says 'Oh, we have to help the wildlife, they were here first,' Well, you gotta back up the boat. We could have been killed 100 per cent, if that bush hadn't have been there."

Following the attack, the City of Penticton put out an alert warning residents to steer clear of the area.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similakemeen's WildSafe BC program has also put out a warning about an aggressive deer, this one in the Argyle and Eckhardt Street area. 

"This is a timely reminder that female deer will be more assertive for the next two months as fawning takes place," reads an information release. 

"Keep pets away and give does and fawns a wide berth. Female deer can be very protective of their young and have been known to attack both pets and people." 

A woman in Kelowna experienced a deer attack this week as well. 

For White, warnings aren't enough. She plans to write a letter to Penticton city council demanding action and encourages others who have experienced deer aggression to do the same. 

"I'm not exaggerating, people's lives are in danger," White said. "She would have killed us."



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