published Friday, November 8th, 2013

Alabama man mauled by pet deer, faces charges

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — An Alabama man was charged with illegally keeping seven deer as pets, including a buck that mauled and partially blinded him, wildlife officials said Friday.

On Oct. 30, Julius Dunsmore entered a fenced pen on his property in Marshall County in the northern part of the state and was attacked by a nine-point buck. Dunsmore said the deer lifted him up on its antlers and carried him 30 feet. One antler punctured his face and severed the optic nerve to an eye. He also suffered puncture wounds in his rib cage, hips and legs.

Dunsmore said he will never again keep deer as pets. His injuries will require several surgeries.

"People need to know that these things are dangerous," he said. "You never know when they are going to turn."

Bucks can become combative during breeding season, normally fighting with each other or even people when the deer are kept in captivity, said Kevin Dodd, the enforcement chief for Alabama's Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. Female deer, or does, can inflict serious injuries by kicking.

State wildlife officials killed the deer on Dunsmore's property and are awaiting tests from a laboratory to determine if they were infected with any disease.

Dodd warned against keeping deer as pets.

"Good intentions, but it's the wrong thing to do," he said. "It always ends badly."

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