Lawsuit over controversial deer killing plan in Cayuga Heights

A deer walks through this Cayuga Heights neighborhood / file photo

There is a new twist in the ongoing battle in Cayuga Heights over a controversial deer management plan.

A dozen residents of the Tompkins County community near Ithaca have filed a lawsuit in hopes of blocking the village from the slaughter of a number of deer that have taken up residence within the village limits.

The lawsuit claims that the deer management plan adopted by the Cayuga Heights Village Board on April 4th "disregards the facts, lacks criteria and thresholds for determining the effectiveness of the deer killing program and fails to take a hard look and reasonable alternatives." Attorney Arthur Giacalone, who filed the lawsuit said, "The village board has left residents who are deeply and sincerely concerned about the inhumane and unacceptable nature of the deer killing program no other choice."

The lawsuit names both the village and the State Department of Environmental Conservation which approved the plan to capture and sterilize 20 doe, and kill the remainder of the deer herd estimated at 200. The DEC will also allow a controversial 'net and bolt' technique in which the deer are captured in nets and killed with a bolt to the back of their heads.

A spokesperson for the village of Cayuga Heights said, "Our attorney as advised us not to make any comment on litigation."

The case goes before State Supreme Court Judge Phillip Rumsey in Ithaca on June 24th.

Click here and here to download and read the full text of the lawsuit.

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