A Tellico Plains woman was seriously injured in Maryville on Monday afternoon after being attacked by a domesticated deer while checking the mail.
Beth Ann Palazzola was getting the mail outside of U.S. Tanx on North Springview Drive in Maryville when a white-tailed buck deer came up behind her, a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency release said.
Palazzola is an employee at U.S. Tanx, according to an employee at U.S. Tanx who declined to comment further.
TWRA reported that the deer “came up behind her and slammed into her back knocking her to the ground.”
Once Palazzola was on the ground, the deer began circling and goring her with its antlers. To shield herself from the deer, Palazzola grabbed the deer’s antlers but continued to be dragged around, the report said.
“Three unknown bystanders assisted the woman as the deer continued to drag and injure her, but were eventually able to separate the deer and get her to safety,” the report said.
Palazzola was transported to Blount Memorial Hospital. As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, Palazzola was being actively treated, a BMH spokesperson said.
TWRA officers were able to locate the deer near the attack due to the orange collar the deer was wearing. Officers then immobilized and euthanized the deer, which weighed approximately 75 pounds and was assumed to be about a year-and-a-half old.
Those who have encountered the deer before were surprised to hear about the attack.
Stephanie Cooper, whose daughter’s grandmother lives on Springview Drive, reported seeing the deer in an orange collar last month.
“We were eating lunch and it came out of the woods and seemed very friendly,” Cooper said.
Cooper learned that the deer, called Louie by people in the neighborhood, roams freely around Springview Drive.
“It’s not raised by humans. It’s just that the entire neighborhood chose not to shoot him,” Cooper said. “They just think it’s pretty seeing it walk up and down the street.”
TWRA reported that a criminal investigation in ongoing due to information that “suggests the deer was raised by humans from a very young age.”