COLORADO SPRINGS – In Craig, a doe was put down in June after it attacked an elderly woman walking her dog in city limits. Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officials say the doe was startled by the dog and was protecting her two fawns. They say the deer had to be euthanized due to unusually aggressive behavior. Her fawns were taken to a rehab center.
This story has sparked renewed debate on wildlife euthanasia and that’s the focus of this 360° Perspective.
Jason Clay with Colorado Parks and Wildlife says they have a strong responsibility to keep the public safe and the incident with the doe was unfortunate and they do not enjoy it. But he says the doe was unusually aggressive, out of its habitat and attacked a woman who wasn’t trying to interact with it.
Clay said there are other examples of times they don’t euthanize, like with a recent moose attack in Nederland, “That was the case of normal behavior, defending its calf in its natural environment.”
Conservationists say we continue to encroach on wildlife habitat. Samantha Bruegger with Wild Earth Guardians says it’s not the animals’ faults. They’re just trying to protect their babies. She says it’s time to revisit state policies and adapt to population changes, to protect humans and animals.
Bruegger believes they’re too quick to kill, “Wildlife services really employ euthanasia and killing first, especially in human conflict situations.”
Trails all over have warnings saying you’re entering the animal territory, including the Apex Trail in Golden. Hikers say they see a lot of animals out there and try to respect their space and stay away.
“Just remember you’re in their home and possibly they’re going to feel protective,” one hiker said.
Another adds, “We’re not in a zoo and there’s the ability to get hurt.”
They also say animals need to be discouraged from coming into neighborhoods, don’t leave them food, and lock up your trash.
Despite all the differences in this debate, all interviewed agreed that education is the key to co-existing.
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This report was produced by KMGH.