NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Local leaders are weighing their options on how to regulate the deer population.
A new possibility has many locals torn.
If you ask most Staten Islanders, there’s no question about it: The island’s deer population is getting out of control.
“I think it’s getting to be a problem, a big problem,” said resident Frances Ottino.
How the state may solve the issue is causing rifts. The borough president declined an on-camera interview, but says he met with the Department of Environmental Conservation last week to discuss a possible controlled bow hunt on state-owned property, using crossbows. He says the DEC is trying to work with the property to access its land to significantly reduce Staten Island‘s herd.
WEB EXTRA: DEC Deer Management Guide (.pdf)
“As a dog owner, my concern is ticks,” said resident Tom Coote.
Coote’s also worried about Lyme disease. So, with regulations, he supports the idea.
“As long as it’s done humanely, I guess. You’ve got to control the population. As long as it’s done right,” he said.
Others disagree with this proposal altogether.
“I don’t think that’s fair,” said resident Luis Patino.
“They’re too beautiful to hunt. Beautiful animals,” said Linda Bruno.
“New Yorkers really revere their wildlife and do not want their communities turned into killing fields,” said Edita Birnkrant, the executive director of animal rights organization NYCLASS. Birnkrant says both the state and city have to look at this as a long-term problem, and figure out another way to coexist with the deer.
“Using habitat modifications, fencing. All of those different, nonlethal strategies that have been proven to work. And the city has adopted a nonlethal birth control plan that has been proven to work,” she said.
The island-wide cull of deer is still just a proposal at this point, but that could soon change.
The cull would require a special permit from the DEC. Then specialized organizations would carry out the activities.