WATCH: Deer Runs Wild Through Staten Island Store

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Customers shopping at a clothing boutique on Staten Island got quite a scare Monday when a deer darted into the store.

As CBS2’s Reena Roy reported, it’s the latest in an uptick of deer sightings.

Monday afternoon shopping turned into customers hiding behind dresses and in closets. The deer sprinted through the front door of In Phase Fashions boutique on New Dorp Lane, running recklessly down the aisles.

Witnesses said it had been hit by a car on Hylan Boulevard.

“It was ramming into the door. It was hitting the mirrors,” In Phase Fashions owner Margaret Cavuto told Roy. “People were hiding in different spots.”

She said it caused thousands of dollars in damages after spending about an hour wandering through the store until police and park rangers were able to tranquilize the animal.

Sources later told CBS2 specialists determined the deer had sustained life-threatening injuries and was put down.

MORE: Parks Department In Search Of Solution To Booming Staten Island Deer Population

It’s a reminder of the deer problem on Staten Island.

“The deer population is just a little out of control at this point. They’re all over. I mean, I see them myself,” Cavuto said.

Others in the area have also had their fair share of encounters.

“You have to drive really, really slow. Even yesterday there was one sitting, eating. So we had to go 10 miles per hour,” said resident Marium Zubair.

“We had a friend who lives up on the hill, and she had a deer in the living room,” added resident Janice Curry.

The city’s parks department estimates about 2,000 deer live on State Island. Last week, CBS2’s cameras caught several sauntering through the borough.

It’s an issue that only seems to be getting worse. Department of Transportation statistics show that in 2015, there were 31 crashes, and more than double that in 2016. As of August of this year, there have been 26 crashes.

The city parks wildlife unit is trying to control the population with a sterilization program, which started last year. Male deer are tranquilized and then given a vasectomy before being released back into the wild.

“We’re hoping that if we sterilize 98 percent of males, we can see declines in the population between 10 and 30 percent each year,” Katrina Toal, with the NYC Parks Wildlife Unit, said.

Residents hope the program has a tangible effect on the deer population, especially since animal experts say right now we are in the early stages of mating season, which could mean even more of them running through city streets.

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