Pasco deer attack victim speaks - WFLA News Channel 8

Pasco deer attack victim speaks

Posted: Updated:
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
PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

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.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.



  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:45:21 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:48:49 GMT
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Explosion at beverage packaging facility in Lakeland

    Explosion at beverage packaging facility in Lakeland

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:51 AM EDT2014-09-02 13:51:15 GMT
    An explosion at a Lakeland beverage packaging facility sent a 60,000-pound boiler onto a CSX railroad track Tuesday morning.
    An explosion at a Lakeland beverage packaging facility sent a 60,000-pound boiler onto a CSX railroad track Tuesday morning.
  • Pasco County couple survive a week adrift at sea

    Pasco County couple survive a week adrift at sea

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:16 AM EDT2014-09-02 13:16:33 GMT
    A Pasco county couple is recovering after spending a week adrift in the Gulf of Mexico. They were trapped 80 miles off shore without any food and very little water for seven days.
    A Pasco county couple is recovering after spending a week adrift in the Gulf of Mexico. They were trapped 80 miles off shore without any food and very little water for seven days.
  • Tampa daycare set to reopen after crash

    Tampa daycare set to reopen after crash

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:48 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:48:16 GMT
    A Tampa kindergarten and daycare center is set to reopen four days after a suspected drunk driver crashed through the wall into a classroom.
    A Tampa kindergarten and daycare center is set to reopen four days after a suspected drunk driver crashed through the wall into a classroom.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.