Brussels (Brussels Morning) In early December, Walloon forest ranger Nicolas Bronchain found a dead deer, apparently succumbing to a heart attack after being chased. La Capitale writes about this and the forester confirms the news to BRUZZ. A week later, Bronchain got a call from people because they saw a dog going hunting not far from La Hulpe Castle. The ranger soon found the roe deer, more dead than alive, with bite marks and paralyzed because the legs no longer moved.
On January 6, the ranger was warned again because hikers found a dying deer. Bronchain also found traces of this animal that showed it was on the run. The deer had bite marks on the neck and the walkers testified about dog noises just before.
In addition, there were two more incidents in the area of the Sonian Forest managed by Wallonia in the same period. This time, without a fatal outcome: a horse that ran amok because of a stray dog and threw the rider off. Also in mid-December, the ranger found two dogs chasing a deer. The animal may have escaped, or a ranger may find it later.
Not the first time
Dogs are also a major problem in the Brussels part of the Sonian Forest, the manager testified to BRUZZ last year. The number of deer in the Sonian Forest is decreasing, as it turned out two months ago, due to the large numbers of people in the forest, but their off-leash dogs also play an important role.
The Sonian Forest is spread over the three Belgian regions. Brussels Environment communicates that dogs must always be kept on a leash in the Sonian Forest unless otherwise stated. According to forest ranger Bronchain, despite the harmonized signs in the forest, dog owners do not always adhere to this. He, therefore, advocates harmonizing the underlying law.
Obligation to line
In Wallonia and Flanders, the dog must be kept on a leash in the forest, not in Brussels, provided the dog is kept under control and is not in an area designated as a ‘vulnerable area’.
The Zoniënwoud Foundation will organize a meeting in February to discuss the matter. It is not the intention to ban dogs, emphasizes the Walloon forester.
The goal is to “ensure the tranquility of the wild animals and also to respect other hikers, who sometimes don’t like these animals,” concludes the ranger. According to him, people do not realize how dangerous dogs are to wild animals. “The forest is the worst place to let your dog off-leash because it’s a very fragile ecosystem.”