The Cayuga Heights village board unanimously approved a plan to cull the village's abundant deer herd tonight by a vote of 5 to 0. The controversial plan has been opposed by many of the village residents. It calls for experts to sterilize a group of 20 or so deer and then allow hunting marksmen to take the rest of the deer herd. The Monday night meeting was filled with concerned residents of the village.
Despite the board's approval of the plan it will not be immediately implemented. Late last week the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the execution of the plan until issues surrounding it are fully heard in court. The court is considering a lower court's ruling that allowed the sterilization and shooting portion of the original plan to move forward. The lower court did prohibit the use of the controversial net and bolt method of killing the deer.
A standing room only crowd packed into the small meeting room before the board voted. Nearly two dozen people in the village hall spoke against the plan before the public comment section was closed. Village mayor Kate Supron said she and the board have received overwhelming support for the plan and said a small but vocal minority of the community opposed it.
Several speakers said they believed the plan to bring in sharpshooters was dangerous and hoped the Appellate Division would block it permanently.
"I don't think killing the deer is the best choice. It's the most extreme choice, it's the most violent choice but I don't think it's the best choice," said Amber Gilewski, who lives near Cayuga Heights.
"I guess there's that hope that if the appeal drags on for a couple more months, which it's likely to do, a new slate of candidates might run and oust some of the board and bring the question back to public discussion," said neighbor Karen Kaufman after the proposal was approved by the board.
Village officials have said the plan to reduce the deer population by shooting them has been developed over several years and would be carefully monitored by the D.E.C. and local police.
The village board and neighbors will wait and see how the New York State Appellate Division rules and whether or not the plan to bring sharpshooters in to reduce the deer population can move forward.
The Appellate Division is not expected to further rule on the legality of the village's plan for a couple of months.
Extensive past coverage of Cayuga Heights deer population control.