WEST BEND — A West Bend woman says her dog was killed by a deer Saturday night.
Julie Olson had some people over this weekend and after everyone left, decided to let her two dogs, Gabby and Howie outside. After some time had passed, Gabby came back so Olson tried to get Howie.
"He came up and kind of stood there," Olson said."He came up to the porch, there was blood [on his head] and blood [on his fur]. I screamed for my husband, Howie's hurt. I went to get a towel and my husband went out to snatch him and he took off. He was probably just scared."
Howie vanished into the night. Julie and her husband tried searching for him, even contacting the Washington Co. Sheriff for help. Even with the Sheriff's infrared light, they couldn't find him. Some five hours later, Julie got a call. A neighbor found Howie but he wasn't in good shape. They rushed him to an emergency veterinarian in Grafton.
"The vet comes out and is like, it's not looking good," Olson said. "A lot of trauma. When she felt his head, there was at least a two to three inch gap. The bones were broken that deep. It was significant. Broken jaw, they don't know if his nose was broken. With how much head trauma he had, his eyes were kind of bulging out and he's not responding to light."
Julie had no choice but to put him down.
"I screamed his name and he didn't move," Olson said. "He didn't pick up his head. Didn't do anything."
She says her dog was the friendliest dog they could have asked for. He'd pick up his toys to bring as a greeting to new people in their home. He was a cuddler. He had a lot of energy. Now, he's gone.
Julie and her husband went to investigate the next morning to make sure he wasn't hit by a car. They didn't find anything in the street but in their neighbor's side yard, they found evidence something happened.
"We found a pile of blood and deer tracks," Julie said. "It skid into the ground."
Her other dog, Gabby, has been hesitant to go outside since the incident. Now, Julie is being more cautious though and keeping an eye on her when they're outside together.
"Go out with your dogs," Olson said. "Go out with them. I don't want this to happen to any other dog or person. It's so hard. You never think this would happen. Just be extra careful."
The Department of Natural Resources says this kind of interaction is extremely rare. Although, deer can be more aggressive in their mating season.
"This time of year is the breeding season and deer are much more active as bucks are looking for receptive does," Bret Owsley, Southern District Wildlife Supervisor for the Wisconsin DNR said. "Bucks are trying to establish their dominance and can be more aggressive with each other and you can see stories where they even become aggressive with deer statutes or lawn ornaments."
As a result, the deer travel further distances too which can result in higher numbers of car crashes. The DNR says there are about 20,000 deer crashes every year in Wisconsin. However, 20% happen in November alone. It's caught the attention of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. They will have freeway signs alerting drivers to be aware of the increase.
But the numbers are already starting.
"This morning it started,' Kurt Breitzman, Bodyshop manager at Wegner's Auto Body in Plymouth said. "I have two more coming in plus this one."
Breitzman says they see an increase in business this time of year because of deer crashes. According to the Sheboygan Co. Sheriff's Department, they saw a dozen incidents in less than 24 hours.
The Department of Transportation says last year, there were 515 injuries from deer-car crashes with four deaths. Those four deaths were all on motorcycles.
Breitzman says the best way to avoid injury is to just relax.
"Just let off the gas," Breitzman said. "If you veer, you could end up hurting other people or going into a ditch and hurting yourself. You're better off letting off the gas and go with it."