NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — When East Hampton Village began a non-lethal program in an effort to reduce its deer population earlier this year, it was accepted as a non-lethal answer to the growing problem.

But now, some wildlife experts fear, in a few cases, that it’s having the opposite effect, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reports.

Officials believe the surgical sterilization of female deer was the best solution to its population problem, calling it a good middle ground between killing the animals and doing nothing.

A non-profit called White Buffalo tranquilized 114 deer with dart guns and transported them to veterinarians to be sterilized.

Now, deer are showing up dead.

Hampton Wildlife rescuer Dell Cullum found a pregnant doe delivering twins and in septic shock. The deer had tags in her ears which means she was one who had been sterilized.

Another wildlife rescuer Ginnie Frati says she too recently found two dying does — one with an obvious abdominal infection.

“We aren’t trying to harm the animal,” said White Buffalo spokesperson Vickie Denicola. “In fact, we offer great care. We’ve patched up old wounds, give them antibiotics and pain medication and constantly check up on them.”

 

For now the East Hampton Village reports there is no direct correlation between the deaths and the sterilization.

The East Hampton Civic Group that raised the money for the sterilizations says it believes the program is more humane than sharpshooters.

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