EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — East Hampton Village will begin a non-lethal program in an effort to reduce its deer population on Friday.

Officials believe the surgical sterilization of female deer is 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 will tranquillize the deer with dart guns and transport them to veterinarians to be sterilized. The procedure will cost $1,000 per deer.

“They have these biologists that will work at night,” East Hampton Village Mayor Paul Rickenbach told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. “Once they’re sedated, they’ll take them to a location where, within a 10 to 20 minute surgery, veterinarians will remove their ovaries and they’ll be put back out into the local population.”

Officials have said the deer are significantly damaging vegetables and other crops and say the deer also are responsible for hundreds of annual car accidents and are carriers for ticks that spread Lyme disease.

Last year, both the town and village of East Hampton and other municipalities opted out of a plan that called for trained sharpshooters to kill deer across eastern Long Island, which would eliminate about 10 percent of the deer population.

The cull was dropped following protests and a court challenge by animal welfare advocates, hunters and others.

The village allocated $30,000 for the sterilization program and the East Hampton Preservation Group raised over $100,000 to support the program.

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