A deer seen running through the streets of Fitzroy, in Melbourne’s inner north, has been euthanased after being assessed by veterinarians.
Simon, who lives in Collingwood, had just gone out for coffee when he saw the deer while he was stopped at a red light at the intersection of Johnson and Smith streets this morning.
“I was like ‘oh my God, there’s a bloody deer running across the road looking pretty distressed’,” he told the ABC.
“By pure chance it happened to be running across when there was a red light and running in the direction of the lane that it was in as well.
“It seemed to have a bit of traffic sense really.”
He said the deer was pretty large, with antlers “that would’ve done some damage” and very dark brown fur.
“It was a bit of excitement for my lockdown day,” he said.
A video posted on Twitter showed the animal running across Johnston Street near Gore Street in front of a white car.
A startled motorist slowed down but the animal quickly darted out of the way.
Deer expert says animal likely travelled from outer suburbs
Barry Howlett from the Australian Deer Association said it was lucky traffic was light.
Under the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, there are currently only five reasons to leave home, and Melburnians must stay within a 10-kilometre radius of their homes unless they have an exemption.
“[The deer’s] instinct is flight and it would’ve been just a complete sensory overload with the smell and the sound,” Mr Howlett said.
“It would’ve been a very young and confused animal.
“It would have been a far more challenging situation on a normal Saturday morning.”
Mr Howlett said said it was likely a male Sambar deer which had travelled from the peri-urban fringe along the Yarra River in search of a partner.
He said it had also been spotted at the Kew Golf Club.
Victoria Police referred all calls about the matter to Wildlife Victoria which said another agency, Vets for Compassion, had assessed the animal.
The animal was later euthanised, Wildlife Victoria said.
Mr Howlett said euthanasing the animal was the most humane course of action.
“It’d be very difficult to effectively sedate it and then you’d have the problem that it’s actually illegal to release these animals in the wild anyway,” he said.
While not common, incidents like that are not unheard of.
In 2017, a deer got inside a funeral home at Ringwood, in Melbourne’s east, causing $100,000 damage.
The animal had smashed a glass door and spent 20 minutes inside the building before it was removed.