PETITION TO MAYOR LEIKEN AND SHAKER CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
Shaker Heights, Ohio will be the site of an unnecessary, unethical and dangerous deer killing program that’s beginning in December 2016. The Shaker Heights City Council and Mayor unanimously voted to approve a sharpshooting program which will be carried out by local police along the Shaker Median Trail. Their plan is to lure deer using bait, and allow the local police to fire at them in a residential area using high powered rifles. This constitutes a potential threat to residents since a misfire, missed shot, or ricocheting bullet could be deadly for up to 2.2 miles.
Council was responding to private property owners who consider the deer a nuisance and ignored an infrared survey which counted only 10 deer per square mile. This extremely low density of deer doesn’t warrant human interference, let alone extreme lethal measures such as sharpshooting.
There are more effective, non-lethal ways of protecting plants and gardens from deer. Creative use of fencing, deer-resistant gardening strategies, and repellents are used routinely across the country to successfully protect landscaping from deer.
Another justification for this killing program is the claim that deer present traffic hazards. Yet Shaker Police data show that deer-vehicle collisions are rare (2 - 6 per year), and have shown no clear upward trend from 2010 to 2015. Various forms of signage technology have been recently developed to effectively deter deer and alert motorists in deer “hot spots”.
The city also claimed that a 2015 survey of Shaker Hts residents showed that 73% of the 350 respondents favored a moderate to substantial decrease in the number of deer in Shaker Heights. However, the survey was totally voluntary and mailed in, invalidating the statistical significance of the conclusions (those who complained were much more likely to respond — technically termed “response bias”).
Killing is an ineffective and inefficient way to regulate the deer population. When food is plentiful, deer tend to have twins and even triplets. When food is scarce, they have single fawns, or stop reproducing altogether. After many deer are killed, the remaining ones produce even more fawns since a larger supply of food is available to them. Deer who are killed will rapidly be replaced by deer migrating from adjacent suburbs. In order to sustain the lower deer population resulting from this misguided control effort, an ongoing “culling” program will be required. This has been the experience of suburban areas across northeast Ohio and the rest of the U.S.
Our few remaining natural public lands should be a refuge for wildlife and not a place where defenseless creatures are lured with food and then brutally ambushed with bullets. View the aftermath of one such slaughter in this video which documents the bloody aftermath of a deer kill in Rochester Hills, Michigan (an area similar to Shaker Hts). The killing turned into such a bloodbath that city officials realized the error of their ways and decided to cease killing and instead implemented a very successful and simple non-lethal plan.
We expect that a progressive community such as Shaker Heights can do so much better than this and even serve as a model for other communities on how to co-exist with deer peacefully. This deer killing plan is unacceptable and we implore each member of Shaker Heights City Council and Mayor Leiken to put a stop to this senseless killing before it begins.
“NO” TO A DEER KILL
WE, the undersigned, residents of Shaker Heights, Ohio, do NOT support a lethal plan for our urban deer. We support long-term, proven, humane alternatives that will not harm the deer.