Managing director James MacLeod told AAP how a staff member was alone at the East Melbourne funeral home when she heard smashing glass. Upon investigating, she found a large deer which proceeded to charge forward and into the chapel where the distressed animal went “completely nuts.”
Mr. MacLeod described the aftermath as a “horrific crime scene.” Within 20 minutes, the brazen Bambi completely destroyed the 70-seat Seasons of Life Chapel. “The facility, the carpet, walls, furniture. It just all needs to be replaced immediately. The damage is unbelievable.”
A funeral scheduled for that evening had to be relocated. “The family were understanding, but they didn’t quite believe it,” MacLeod said. Upcoming services have also been relocated.
The 250-kilogram deer is thought to have been injured and bleeding as it entered the venue and may have been hit by a car beforehand.
Staff members were eventually able to lock the deer in a meeting room. Six police officers were called to the scene, and two hours later rangers arrived to contain the animal which was put down due to its injuries.
“No one was injured during the incident,” Victoria Police said in a statement. However, this was not an isolated event, with police revealing that this was the third disturbance involving deer in the past few days. On the same day, a stag was hit and killed on Warrandyte Research Rd, and, earlier in the week, a deer wandered onto the Ringwood Bypass.
The funeral home is less than a kilometre away from Mullum Mullum Creek Trail – where skateboarder Jay Godwin crossed paths with a deer last October – and two kilometres from Norwood Secondary College and Mullum Primary School, where two grade four students were assessed by paramedics after a deer bolted through the campuses during recess in August 2015.
“It’s not unusual for them to wander along the wildlife corridor along the Mullum Mullum Creek,” Australian Deer Association executive officer Barry Howlett said, adding that sightings in Ringwood are becoming “more abundant”.
The National Parks Association estimates Victoria’s wild deer population at one million.