Dog Owners Asked To Use Lead After Reindeer Injured

Reindeer Belle, with calf Tula before the accident

A St Mary’s woman is asking dog owners to keep their dogs on leads near livestock after her new-born reindeer calf was seriously injured over the weekend.

Stella Wyburne-Ridsdale says a dog who was off the lead jumped up at the fence at the reindeer’s enclosure on the Garrison, scaring the calf’s mother, Belle, and causing her to bolt.

As she was fleeing, she fell over onto the 11-day old calf, named Tula, breaking its leg.

Stella says she was taken to a specialist vet in Newquay over the weekend on board the Scillonian, which she described as “incredibly stressful” for both the calf and the mother.

Stella says the calf almost died under the anaesthetic while setting the break and applying a cast. She’s now being looked after by a friend, Craig Richards, on the mainland, but it could be some time before she can return to her mother on St Mary’s.

Stella’s reindeer, Jingle and Belle, have become a familiar if rather unusual sight on the streets of St Mary’s, and they’ve proved popular with young and old visitors alike.

But Stella says she’s extremely angry with irresponsible dog owners who don’t use a lead near livestock. Only last year, the same reindeer, Belle, miscarried after being chased by loose dogs.

Stella says this incident was “so avoidable” and the stress it has caused to the animals is heartbreaking. She says the cost of treatment, including making a weekly journey to the mainland, is immense, but she says the animals are pets and she can’t put a price on that.

Last year, there were several incidents of dogs worrying livestock including reports of chickens being killed (


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