Pasco deer attack victim speaks - WFLA News Channel 8

Pasco deer attack victim speaks

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Silvia Fernandez lost an eye in a deer attack. Silvia Fernandez lost an eye in a deer attack.
Fernandez & Rajah the tiger Fernandez & Rajah the tiger

Sylvia Fernandez says the attack was her fault.

In January, a deer attacked Fernandez at the Survival Outreach Sanctuary in Pasco County.

Fernandez was staying at the sanctuary with her sister, Judy Watson, who founded and owns the facility. She was about to leave the facility when the deer, named Vinnie, approached.

"I just grabbed him to move him, and he again, pursued it and I grabbed him again and I shouldn't have grabbed him, I don't think, because that was the mistake that I made," said Fernandez. "But, nevertheless, there we are. It's over. It's done. The poor little guy is gone."

The deer has since been relocated to another facility.

The animal took out Fernandez's right eye. A volunteer at the sanctuary, Horace Sessoms, heard the screams and ran to help.

"And I put my shoes on and I came running out and I seen the deer had attacked her. And I had to get the deer off of her," said Sessoms. "So I did what I had to do to get Vinnie off of her. I hit him with a stick. And she grabbed the back of my belt and I helped her get back to her R.V."

Paramedics rushed to the scene and airlifted Fernandez to an area hospital, where she spent five days recovering. Fernandez says despite the attack, she's keeping a positive attitude. She knows it could have been worse.

Shortly after the incident, she visited her eye doctor.

"He looked at me and and said 'I hope it was the one with the cataract'," Fernandez recalls. "I said, 'Me too'."

Fernandez says, it was.

The attack has also not impacted how she feels about the sanctuary and the exotic animals it houses. She visited the facility on Wednesday to celebrate her sister's 70th birthday, and took the opportunity to exchange kisses with Rajah, a full-grown tiger.

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