Deer Defense Group Sues Westchester To Halt Hunting Plans
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Deer Defense Group Sues Westchester County To Halt Hunting Plans

FROM Jon Craig, Yorktown Daily Voice
May 22, 2015

An animal defense group has initiated legal action to prevent the City of Rye, Village of Mamaroneck, state and Westchester County officials from using hunters to control the deer population.

WESTCHESTER, N.Y. -- A local animal defense group has notified the City of Rye, Village of Mamaroneck, Westchester County and state officials that it will take legal action to stop hunters from killing deer in area parks and other public property.

A "notice of dangerous condition" was served on Mamaroneck Mayor Norman Rosenblum, Rye Mayor Joseph Sack and state and county officials by an Ulster County law firm, according to Kiley Blackman of Tuckahoe, founder of Animal Defenders of Westchester, also known as ADOW.

The amended notice of claim, dated May 15, says hunting within a municipality "may cause serious injuries to the general public as a result of impaling, goring, shooting or death, along with emotional and psychological distress to the public and other risks including the possibility of increased deer/car collisions resulting from frightened deer running into the road way."

The legal action by ADOW also warns public officials that "any injury or death resulting from bow and/or firearm hunting or discharge of same within notice shall become part of the public record in that proceeding."

Blackman told Daily Voice that deer, coyotes and other wildlife lived here long before the county developed into a major New York metropolitan mecca. Blackman said the steady development of Westchester, Putnam and Fairfield counties, including the latest trend to build "McMansions" and parking lots on former open space is what pushes deer onto area highways -- not their overpopulation.

Further, she said many deer are killed on area roadways because motorists speed and ignore deer warning signs, not because there are too many deer.

Blackman also accused state and county parks and conservation officials of benefiting from the licenses and fees charged to hunters while saying they are trying to preserve forest undergrowth.

At a recent Westchester County Center forum on deer hunting, a Hastings-on-Hudson trustee discussed that village's experience in reducing the deer population through birth control, a pilot program financed by the Humane Society of the United States.

LoHud has previously reported on Westchester County's offer to help the City of Rye control its deer population using experienced, licensed bow hunters at the county-owned Marshlands Conservancy in Rye.

As reported earlier by Daily Voice, Rye has been mulling ways to control the deer population for years. Residents complain that deer destroy expensive foliage and storm through their yards in herds, prompting them to fence properties.

An extremely loud, low flying helicopter scoured the skies above Marshlands Conservancy in late February. At the time, some Harrison, Mamaroneck and Rye residents said they thought that the sudden noise meant there was a major fire, police standoff or auto wreck. County parks officials were trying to get a count of the area's deer population.

At the April 30 deer-management forum in White Plains, officials said it is trickier to hunt for deer in Southern Westchester -- compared to Pound Ridge and other parts of Northern Westchester -- because homes are closer together. Areas south of Interstate 287 are more densely populated, they said.

Sixty to 100 licensed archers at a time have killed 525 deer in the past six years as part of the county's deer-management program.

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