A £200,000-a-year marketing businessman whose dog attacked a deer in a Royal Park causing its death was fined just £600.
The frightened deer ran into the road where it was hit by a car and had to be put down after the Irish setter, called Alfie attacked it and then gave chase.
Video captured by a cyclist shows the moment bystanders rushed to chase the dog away from the injured deer as it continued to circle the stricken animal.
The ‘relentless’ dog, attacked and bit the deer from behind, dragged her backwards, jumped up, and lunged at her, and continuously ran around her attempting to get her.
The dog was seen biting the deer and aggressively barking before brave witnesses formed a human barrier between the two animals to halt the attack.
A businessman has been fined £600 after his dog attacked a Richmond Park deer (pictured) which eventually had to be put down due to injuries after it was hit by a car trying to escape
Brave witnesses stepped in to attempt to stop the vicious attack by Irish Setter called Alfie
The deer was left with deep wounds to her hind parts and tail, which was partially detached
Bystanders took down Hiribarne’s details as he arrived on the scene and they flagged down a passing police car before contacting park staff.
The deer limped off and was later found collapsed among ferns with her tail practically detached, a broken leg, and grisly hind wounds.
Tragically, she had to be put down by a gamekeeper.
Owner Franck Hiribarne, 44, told magistrates he was training his young puppy in Richmond Park, south west London, in October last year when the pet started chasing a deer.
The dog had been allowed to run loose – despite signs telling visitors to put their dogs on leads, the court heard.
Hiribarne, who is vice president for Europe, The Middle East, and Asia, for FORMA Brands – a company describing itself as ‘an incubator, accelerator, and curator of today’s beauty brands’ – said he lost sight of the dog as it raced after the wild animal.
Franck Hiribarne said he usually walked Alfie on a lead until he was well away from any grazing deer, and that the dog had been responding well to ‘off lead’ commands on day of attack
Mr Hiribarne said he was ‘genuinely shocked and sorry’ for what had happened in the park
But when he caught up, he found his dog surrounded by a group of men, along with a stopped car and the bleeding deer lying on the ground.
Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court heard how the creature had to be put down because of its injuries, which included a broken leg.
Chidi Ikwuakolam, prosecuting, said: ‘There was a dog chasing and attacking deer and it is also said that during that chase a deer was hit by a car and the deer suffered serious injuries and a broken leg.
‘The police arrive, they take statements, they speak to Mr Hiribarne, the owner.
‘The deer eventually had to be destroyed due to the injuries sustained and it is made clear in the case summary that the park has protected status as a habitat for wildlife – it is a national nature reserve.’
He explained to the court that there were no official sentencing guidelines for the offence, but magistrates’ said they were considering a fine.
When asked how much he earned he told the court he was paid £200,000 annually.
Hiribarne, who lives in a £1 million house in leafy Kingston-on-Thames, south west London, stood in the dock wearing a red V-neck jumper over a white collared shirt with blue jeans and grey trainers.
Pictured: Bystanders attempt to control the dog and halt the brutal attack on the deer
He entered a plea of guilty to one charge of permitting a dog of which he was in charge of to chase, worry, or injure an animal.
Explaining himself to the court, he said: ‘I’m trying to be responsible and I am trying to train my new dog Alfie, from February – when I adopted him – until the incident, doing some recall exercises.
‘He was pretty good until that day when it happened.
‘All of a sudden, I and Alfie came across a lone small deer sitting hidden in the long grass in an open area about 150 metres away from the road and both the deer and Alfie were startled by each other.
‘The deer sprang up and started to run and Alfie got spooked and ran after the deer. I called Alfie back repeatedly and used my dog whistle too but Alfie was too distracted by the deer and continued to chase it and did not respond.
‘My dog was startled and I didn’t see him so it’s my fault as well. He started to chase the deer and went out of my sight.
‘I ran after them and by the time I caught up with them I saw the injured deer by the road side and some members of the public standing surrounding the deer keeping Alfie away from it who was hyper excited, barking and trying to lunge at it.
‘When I arrived at the moment of the incident there was this scene where my dog was surrounded by four of five men and the deer was on the road bleeding.
‘The witnesses there said that the deer had been hit by the car and was bleeding.’
He explained how, since the incident, he has always taken a lead with him and found a dog trainer to help him.
Bystanders eventually formed a human barrier to protect the deer which was seriously injured
He added: ‘I pleaded guilty to permitting the dog to chase the deer. My dog is not a dangerous dog. He has never been aggressive to a human being or any animal.
‘I was genuinely shocked and sorry for what had happened and since then I have refrained completely from letting Alfie off the leash in any park.
‘I have also taken a special dog trainer specialised in gun dogs to control more accurately any of his hunting instincts. He has made great progress.’
‘I am sorry this happened and I’m sorry for the deer because the injury meant that it had to be put down.’
But Mr Ikwuakolam, reading a statement from Richmond Park manager Simon Richards, said that park staff had put up signs telling dog owners to walk their pets outside the park, or put them on leads, during rutting season – between September and November – when male deer compete for females and can be aggressive.
He said: ‘The deer in Richmond park are wild and unpredictable.
‘The royal park has signs that clearly state dogs must be on leads and kept under control at all times.’
He added The Royal Parks paid around £350 for staff to deal with the incident and for the deer to be put down.
Chairman of The Bench Jane Borne ordered Hiribarne to pay a total of £602 including a £133 fine – reduced from the maximum penalty of £200 because of his guilty plea – and £350 compensation to The Royal Parks.
He was also ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge of £85 and £34 respectively.
When told the total, he said only ‘okay’ and explained he could pay the fine immediately.
Ms Borne added: ‘We are pleased to hear that your dog Alfie has been undergoing training and that while walking you are keeping an eye on him.
He replied: ‘Thank you for your understanding.’
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Richards said: ‘Sadly, this was the fourth deer that died over the last year as a result of dog chases in Bushy and Richmond Parks.
‘We’ve had 58 incidents of dogs chasing deer reported to us since March 2020, and it’s completely unacceptable. It’s imperative that owners ensure their dogs are under control at all times.’
On December 30 2020, also at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court, David Reay, 69, from Kingston, pleaded guilty to allowing his dog to attack and kill a fallow deer in Richmond Park on 12 September 2020.
He was fined £135 and ordered to pay £350 compensation to Richmond Park as well as £34 victim surcharge costs and £85 costs to to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Police say attacks on deer have surged during lockdown as pet owners take to the park in droves to walk their dogs.