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Owner fined after dog sparks deer stampede in which 10-year-old cycling with family was injured

Child left with broken rib and head injury after incident in London’s Bushy Park

A man whose dog caused a herd of deer to stampede in one of London’s Royal Parks, resulting in a boy aged 10 who was cycling with his family to sustain a broken rib and head injuries, has been fined £800.

Software firm director Finn Schioldan, aged 52 and from Weybridge, pleaded guilty at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court yesterday to causing or permitting an animal to chase another animal in a Royal Park, reports The Mirror.

The incident happened at 2.50pm on 17 January in Bushy Park, which is adjacent to Hampton Court Palace in south west London.

Schioldan had gone to the park for a walk with his son and their Rhodesian Ridgeback dog, which managed to slip its lead and chased after some of the deer, which roam free in the park.

Emek Yagmur, prosecuting, told the court: “On January 17 this defendant brought his brown Rhodesian Ridgeback to the deer park.

“These dogs are hunting dogs. On that day the park was crowded with very high visitor numbers.

“This defendant was accompanied with his son and his dog and they were walking in area between Heron Pond and Diana Car Park.

“That dog at one point was on a lead but then, at around 2.40pm, that dog began chasing a number of deer into the pond and out the gate.

“As the deer were running a family group on bicycles, which was a father and three children, one of the deer was rushing and attempted to jump over the family on the bicycles and that collided with the youngest boy causing a head injury and a fractured rib.

“Officers then attended Bushy Park, this defendant was then spoken to and he was charged.”

The child was treated for his injuries at King’s College Hospital.

The dog owner, representing himself, said: “It wasn't the intention to let the dog off the lead but it was off the lead.

“I was not aware that the kid was injured. Police were telling me that the boy had come off his bike and had hurt his rib but I was not aware of a head injury.

“He was taken to the hospital the same day. It wasn't clear what injury he had.”

Magistrate Richard Jefferson, who also ordered Schioldan to pay costs of £85 and an £80 victim surcharge, said: “Please be very careful, these deer are not little Bambies. They are tough, they live outside, they are tough.”

Herds of red deer and fallow deer are found in three of London’s Royal Parks, with the largest found in Richmond Park, less than two miles northeast of Bushy Park.

Greenwich Park is home to the smallest population and, unlike the other two parks, the deer there are kept in a fenced enclosure with no public access.

On its website, The Royal Parks tells dog owners to keep their animals on a lead when deer are nearby, and park visitors are advised in all cases to maintain at least 50 metres’ distance from them.

Last month, police released footage shot by a cyclist of several bike riders in Richmond Park trying to stop an attack by a dog on a deer, which also sustained a broken leg when a driver hit it as it was being chased and subsequently had to be put down. The dog’s owner was fined £602.

> Cyclists try to stop dog attacking injured deer in Richmond Park

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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