Officials euthanize deer after attack, man says it was harmless 'neighborhood pet'

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MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/Gray News) — A woman suffered serious injuries after being attacked by a white-tailed deer in Blount County on Monday.

Ronald Harris says a deer who seriously injured a woman in Blount County would never hurt anyone. (Source: Ronald Harris)

The victim told investigators she is in a lot of pain.

Officials said they have not charged anyone in connection to the attack at this time. They will complete the case and present it to the district attorney's office next week.

Ronald Harris says he's not the deer's owner because he considers the deer, named Louis, more of a "neighborhood pet."

"My granddaughter used to paint his toenails. You tell me: Does that sound like a vicious animal?" Harris said.

He said he "doesn't feel bad for the victim because this deer would never harm anybody. She had to have provoked him."

Harris said Louis' antlers were painted fluorescent orange and they put a reflective collar on him to let hunters know not to shoot him.

According to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Beth Ann Palazzola of Tellico Plains was getting the mail outside her workplace, when the deer moved toward her from behind, knocked her to the ground and gored her with its antlers.

Palazzola grabbed the deer's antlers to prevent it from continuing to gore her. That's when three unidentified people stepped in to stop the deer from dragging Palazzola.

They were able to free her from the deer and help her to safety.

Palazzola was hospitalized with serious injuries after the attack.

Wildlife officers said they quickly found the deer and noticed it was wearing an orange collar and acting unusually tame.

The deer was tranquilized and euthanized. Investigators believe the deer had been raised by humans from a young age and was unnaturally humanized.

The white-tailed deer was an 18-month-old male four-point weighing about 75 lbs.

According to TWRA, the same deer was accused of attacking an 11-year-old earlier in 2019. Officials decided to euthanize the deer because it showed aggressive behavior.

Investigators said they're confident that they know where the deer was being held.

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