December 22, 2014

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Avon Lake woman attacked by deer in backyard

Cathy Krajny

Cathy Krajny

AVON LAKE — Bambi isn’t always the cute creature out of a Disney movie — in the real world, deer are wild animals and sometimes dangerous.

An Avon Lake resident learned this over the weekend after a deer attacked her in her own backyard.

According to a police report, Cathy Krajny, 59, let her dog out of her Parkview Drive residence when a deer came around the house and tried to attack her cockapoo.

According to Krajny, the deer turned on her when she tried to rescue her dog, stood on its hind legs and struck her face with a hoof. After striking her, the deer attempted to charge again, but Krajny told police she was able to pick up her dog and get back inside.

While inside, Krajny noticed she was bleeding and she woke her husband, who took her to the Cleveland Clinic emergency room in Avon.

“I think the city needs to get the deer population under control, and people also need to be aware that deer can be dangerous,” said Krajny, who received three stitches to her right cheek, a black eye and bruising on her back.

Avon Lake fire Lt. John Rogers said calls regarding deer usually involve vehicle collisions, and this is the first instance he’s heard of in Avon Lake where a deer attacked a person.

“I’ve been on the department for 29 years, and I can’t recall a deer versus human,” Rogers said.

Krajny said she still enjoys seeing deer, but she will now be on guard when they are near.

“I have a feeling I’ll still enjoy walking in places like the Kopf Reservation in Avon Lake and seeing the deer in the woods,” Krajny said. “But I think that’s where they belong.”

City officials have been discussing deer overpopulation for the past year, but have stated that Avon Lake’s previous culling ordinance was too restrictive and ineffective. New legislation allowing the city and private citizens to manage white-tailed deer populations was given a second reading at a special City Council meeting Monday night.

The ordinance would permit taking of deer in city limits with archery equipment as long as bow hunters submit an application for a municipal deer control permit to police with maps detailing where they intend to hunt, the property’s total acreage, signatures of all property owners, names and ages of all shooters that will be on the property, Ohio hunting license verification and proof of completion of the Ohio hunter education course.

The police chief or his designee would also visit properties to determine that shooting archery equipment would be safe on particular properties.

Not everyone is happy with the proposed ordinance. Several residents expressed safety concerns, including Bay Hill Drive resident Michelle Murphy, who said the ordinance should include more safety standards.

“This Council must protect the 22,581 residents of this community by incorporating bare minimum standards in the hunting legislation you’re considering,” Murphy said.

City Council member Dave Kos, 4th Ward, introduced several amendments to the ordinance on Monday night, including minimum acreage requirements, excluding culling or hunting operations on properties adjacent to schools or daycare centers and conducting criminal background checks on those applying for deer control permits.

Kos ultimately withdrew several of the proposed amendments because other members of Council and Mayor Greg Zilka said they needed more time to review the proposed changes and discuss them with the police chief before the next City Council meeting.

Contact Jon Wysochanski at 329-7123 or jwysochanski@chroniclet.com.