To all the loving dog owners out there: Do you realize that when your wonderful, domesticated dog is off leash, it will instinctively give chase when it sees something scamper, like a fawn?
As a member of the board of directors for Wildlife Fawn Rescue, I know that one of the biggest reasons fawns come to us is because they have been ‘dog caught.’ When a dog catches a fawn, it shakes the fawn, like it would a cat. This traumatic action alone is enough to kill the fawn - not instantly, but later.
Once the chase is over, the dog leaves. The act of being chased, caught and shaken causes the fawn great trauma and the fawn will “shut down” – it gives up on life. The fawn then has no interest in eating or anything, and within a day or two, it dies. It’s a very sad situation, and we see this every year.
When I talk to dog owners, whose dogs are off leash at Overlook Trail, I tell them that their dog will give chase when it sees a fawn and that they need to keep their dog on-leash in areas like this. And you know what -100 percent of the replies have been, “Oh, my dog wouldn’t do that.”
Then they continue on their walk, with their dog off-leash.