CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A south Charlotte family is warning other pet owners after their dog was seriously hurt when a deer attacked him in their backyard.
Finn, the family's 3-year-old Goldendoodle, usually plays in the backyard. He'll get spurts of energy and play fetch with balls and toys from time to time, his owner, Roger Hunter, said.
The Hunters live in a neighborhood between SouthPark and Pineville. They are used to seeing deer in their backyard, but they were stunned when Finn was attacked by a buck on Monday.
"We didn't expect it," Roger Hunter said. "This all happened so fast."
One of their security cameras captured the moment.
Editor's Note: The video contains content that some may find disturbing.
At first, Hunter said Finn scared off a doe from the yard. But as he turned around a buck met him head-on.
In the video, you can see a buck dart across the backyard towards Finn. Then, the deer pummels the dog over and over again with his antlers.
"[The deer] hit him about four different times -- pinning him against the fence each time," Hunter said.
Seconds later, Hunter's wife can be seen running into the video waving a towel to scare the deer away. Veterinarians credited Mrs. Hunter's quick actions with saving Finn's life.
Still, the damage had been done to Finn.
"It is very traumatic for her and the dog," Mr. Hunter said.
Hunter's wife and a neighbor rushed Finn to Sharon Lakes Animal Hospital.
Veterinarians there told the family Finn suffered a collapsed lung and multiple puncture wounds.
"About seven or so, which were pretty deep," Hunter explained.
Hunter said he believes the buck got defensive after the dog tried to scare his doe away.
Deer are in the middle of their rut, or mating season, where bucks pursue does for mating.
"It is very surprising actually," Moriah Bogges, a deer biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, said.
However, he said with the ongoing rut, if something like this was going to happen, it would happen during this season.
"Even though deer are particularly bold this time of year, and some might be a little aggressive, we very rarely ever get reports of a deer coming after a dog," he said.
Bogges said any pet owner should be sure to not feed wild animals or nurture them to where they want to routinely come onto your property. Instead, respect their space so they don't become territorial.
The Hunters hope their story will make people aware so no other pet owner has to go through Finn's experience.
Finn's family told WCNC Charlotte that Finn was able to go home Sunday after recovering at the animal hospital. He still has staples and stitches and will have to get a follow-up X-ray next week.
"We want to thank Sharon Lakes Hospital and Long Hospital for all they did to save Finn. Al’s thanks to all the kind posts and prayers everyone sent," the family told Hunter Sáenz.
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