Officers 'gutted' to shoot stag dead in Bootle

White stag in Bootle
Stag spotted in Bootle Credit: Gareth Sullivan

Merseyside Police say it made every effort to save a deer that was put down, after it was seen roaming the streets of Bootle on Monday.

The force said officers spent nine hours trying to tranquilise the white stag. But after advice from a vet, they made the decision to kill it because of the risk posed to the public. 

After online backlash, the force posted a statement saying it had to put the public at "the heart of the decision-making".

DCC Ian Critchley said: "All the officers at scene were absolutely gutted at having to shoot the animal. The officers had been engaged for nine hours at the incident and had been actively trying to capture the deer for more than five hours so were totally committed to relocating the animal. However, we had to ensure that a distressed deer did not present any danger to public safety."

Officers received a number of reports from people who'd spotted the deer on various roads including Marsh Lane and Hornby Road.

Social media was also inundated with videos of the deer from members of the public who caught it on camera.

There were concerns for safety of motorists so armed police were called out and managed to get the deer to an industrial estate. A vet was called in to monitor the stag's welfare and try to help control it. Several enquiries were made to find an organisation who could assist with recovering the deer safely, but Merseyside Police say they were unable to get assistance and as the hours went by the deer became more distressed. As a result, a decision was made early in the evening to euthanise the deer.

Stag in Bootle Credit: Alfie Grimes-Callaghan

The RSPCA released a statement saying it told police to leave the deer alone before they shot it, as it would "find its way back home".

But the charity did also say: "In cases such as this where public safety is a consideration it is a matter for the police to deal with."It is possible that the deer could be sedated and moved to a place of safety to be released, but this needs to be done with caution in a public area such as this one, as the deer could startle and run when hit by the dart which could create a bigger public safety issue".