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>>

  • FDLE opens investigation into Spring Hill sinkhole home

    FDLE opens investigation into Spring Hill sinkhole home

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 4:52 PM EDT2014-09-16 20:52:00 GMT
    The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has opened an investigation into whether a Spring Hill home seller committed fraud by lying about a sinkhole under the home. This follows an 8 On Your Side investigation that showed that Glenn Jasen, the former homeowner, cashed a check from Citizens Property Insurance for $153,745 in January 2009. But he didn't use the money to fix the sinkhole. Instead, Jasen sold the home to Kelly Magbee's family in March. The Magbees moved in with their five ch...
    The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has opened an investigation into whether a Spring Hill home seller committed fraud by lying about a sinkhole under the home. This follows an 8 On Your Side investigation that showed that Glenn Jasen, the former homeowner, cashed a check from Citizens Property Insurance for $153,745 in January 2009. But he didn't use the money to fix the sinkhole. Instead, Jasen sold the home to Kelly Magbee's family in March. The Magbees moved in with their five ch...
  • UPS won't pay for Tampa veteran's damaged computer

    UPS won't pay for Tampa veteran's damaged computer

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:31 AM EDT2014-09-16 14:31:49 GMT
    The damaged computerThe damaged computer
    Vincent Farina had a plan when he left the Marines to pursue his degree in game design.
    Vincent Farina had a plan when he left the Marines to pursue his degree in game design.
  • Sales Tax Holiday for appliances this weekend

    Sales Tax Holiday for appliances this weekend

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 8:49 AM EDT2014-09-16 12:49:17 GMT
    You can buy appliances tax free this weekend Sept. 19-21 but they have to be energy and water efficient, Florida Department of Revenue announced this week.
    You can buy appliances tax free this weekend Sept. 19-21 but they have to be energy and water efficient, Florida Department of Revenue announced this week.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Female wounded warriors attend Bradenton retreat

    Female wounded warriors attend Bradenton retreat

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 5:38 PM EDT2014-09-16 21:38:30 GMT
    Fifteen female wounded warriors were gathering together for comradery and counseling during a retreat in Bradenton Tuesday.It's called ‘A Season of Change- You Can!' and it's organized by the Sarasota County Veterans Commission (SCVC) and Professional Assisting Military Families and Friends (PAMFF
    Fifteen female wounded warriors were gathering together for comradery and counseling during a retreat in Bradenton Tuesday.It's called ‘A Season of Change- You Can!' and it's organized by the Sarasota County Veterans Commission (SCVC) and Professional Assisting Military Families and Friends (PAMFF
  • President visits MacDill

    President visits MacDill

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 5:36 PM EDT2014-09-16 21:36:48 GMT
    President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive at MacDill Air Force Base Tuesday.
    President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive at MacDill Air Force Base Tuesday.
  • Father of 6 buried alive: 2nd suspect arrested

    Father of 6 buried alive: 2nd suspect arrested

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 5:34 PM EDT2014-09-16 21:34:52 GMT
    Detectives say Octavio Reyes was robbed and then buried alive. Family photoDetectives say Octavio Reyes was robbed and then buried alive. Family photo
    A second person was charged Tuesday in connection with the murder of Octavio Reyes, a Gibsonton father of 6 who was buried alive.
    A second person was charged Tuesday in connection with the murder of Octavio Reyes, a Gibsonton father of 6 who was buried alive.
  • 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.