A Dog Hot on Its Hoofs, Deer Crashes Into Restaurant

Montgomery County police say a deer being chased by two dogs crashed through a front window of a restaurant before it was put down in the bakery section of a Giant Food store in Silver Spring. Video by Giant of Maryland
By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 7, 2009

A 9-month-old buck fleeing a snarling dog crashed through the front window of a Greek restaurant in Silver Spring on Thursday, upending tables, shattering glassware and terrifying customers.

"I thought the roof was coming down," George Bourzikos, owner of the Greek Village Restaurant on New Hampshire Avenue, said yesterday.

Over as many as four minutes, he said, some patrons sought shelter in the kitchen or on tables as the deer crashed around the restaurant. The deer left when an arriving customer held open the door.

Every year in Washington's Maryland suburbs, about a half-dozen deer crash through windows or enter buildings or homes, said Bob Beyer, an associate director at the Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service. "Anytime you have a deer in a confined space, you're going to have destruction," he said.

He said dogs and deer have a "prototypical predator/prey relationship."

"It's like kids and an ice cream truck," he said. "They're going to run after it because they can."

The incident began about 2:30 p.m.

Six to eight customers were in the restaurant when the deer crashed through the double-paned window. It was clear why the deer was so scared. "The dog looked like a wolf, not a dog, to me," Bourzikos said. "Like the things you see on the Discovery Channel, with the lions."

Bourzikos grabbed a chair and headed to the front of his restaurant to protect himself and customers.

Minutes later, the deer stumbled into the Giant store on New Hampshire Avenue, entering through an automatic door and heading toward the bakery section. "I think he was kind of disoriented," said Jamie Miller, a spokesman for Giant.

Store employees turned off lights in the area, which seemed to settle the deer. Eventually, a biologist from the wildlife service used a dart gun to tranquilize the animal. Because the deer was seriously injured, it had to be euthanized. It had just started to grow antlers.

Bourzikos said he expects to pay about $200 to buy new butter plates and water glasses and several thousand dollars to replace the front window.

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