“It is unusual, but not unheard of, for captive deer to attack humans, particularly during the Autumn mating season."
A man was killed and a woman was left badly injured Wednesday when their pet deer attacked them on their property in Australia's Outback region, local police said.
Following the deer attack, emergency services were called to the home to treat the couple, who were identified as Mandi and Paul McDonald.
“The man died at the scene,” police said in a statement obtained by the AFP News Agency. “The woman has been airlifted to a hospital in Melbourne with life-threatening injuries and remains in a critical condition.”
According to an ABC broadcaster, the man was attacked when he went to feed the deer; his wife was then attacked when she came to his aid.
The woman was saved by her teenage son, who helped bring her to safety after hitting the deer with a lump of wood.
The deer has since been killed “due to concerns for the paramedic's safety on scene,” police said.
“What we do know is that they’ve had the deer for two years,” Acting Senior Sergeant Paul Pursell told reporters in Wangaratta.
Pursell said the family and community were in shock.
“The family is just devastated. It’s beyond words how they’ve been affected by this incident today,” he said.
“It is unusual, but not unheard of, for captive deer to attack humans, particularly during the Autumn mating season,” the Australian Deer Association said in a statement.
Deer were first introduced into Australia in the 19th century, largely for hunting purposes.