NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Deer are dividing a neighborhood on Staten Island.
Less than two weeks after the city released a new campaign to combat the skyrocketing deer population, some animal lovers are putting deer-feeding stations on their block in Bulls Head.
As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, eyes are glowing and darting through the trees as the growing deep population becomes a growing problem.
“They’re beautiful animals, but they don’t belong here in the city,” Annie Toro told Bauman.
She never worried about deer before her granddaughter came home with a tick.
The animals are a hazard to drivers, too. Earlier this month, the Department of Parks and Recreation rolled out new subway ads reminding New Yorkers not to feed the city’s wildlife.
“We shouldn’t feed them, because it’s dangerous and they’re multiplying,” Toro said.
But some of Toro’s neighbors on Graham Avenue have installed deer feeders on trees across the street.
“Keep them on that side of the street not across the street, and don’t come on the lawn and eat the grass,” said neighbor Vinny Russo.
He and his wife, Lisa, say they go through about 40 pounds of corn feed every three days.
The parks department estimates there are about 2,000 deer on Staten Island alone. The city sterilizes and tags male deer to keep the population under control. Some people say if they’re already sterilized, what’s the harm in giving them food?
“They still gotta eat. We ain’t gonna have them dying in the street,” Russo said.
Others lament the free food negates city initiatives and attracts more deer to the block. Not to mention, it’s against state law.
“If somebody fed me, I’d be around too,” one resident said.
“People feed them over here, and they grunt at them, and they think ‘oh look, he’s grunting at me,’ and it’s telling you to stay away you’re going to get hurt,” said resident Chris Meyers.
When asked whether she thinks it’s dangerous to encourage the deer, Lisa Russo replied, “If I saw them in the street, I would. But I never see them in the street.”
Until then, the Russos intend to keep filling the feeders.