Saturday, April 4, 2020

City Council passes ordinance to limit deer population

July 8, 2014

On July 8, East Lansing City Council made a "self-proclaimed" first step toward reducing an apparent infestation of deer in the city.

The council members approved ordinance 1334, an ordinance to disallow the feeding of deer within the city.

"The feeding ban is a good first step. It is one less thing to draw (the deer) to the city," East Lansing council member Kathleen Boyle said during Wednesday's meeting.

Citizens will not be allowed to put any edible material edible by deers outside, unless it is covered. The ordinance still allows for naturally growing vegetation, like plants and garden vegetables, as well as bird feeders.

Citizens who fail to follow this ordinance could pay fines ranging from $25 for the first offense, to $250 for the third offense or higher.

Many citizens attended the meeting with stories of the devastating effects deer herds have caused.

"I've had up to eight deer in my backyard," East Lansing resident Irving Taran said. "Citizens who have made an investment in landscaping are wondering if they should (make the investment) again. The landscaping is supposed to last years, not days."

"We have counted 21 deer in the neighborhood," East Lansing resident Patrick Scheetz said. "They are eating my garden plants, Hosta plants and strawberries. My garden looks like someone mowed the tops off my tomato plants."

Scheetz also expressed concern for the possible health dangers of a large deer population. Deer are a major carrier of deer ticks which can often carry lyme disease, a bacterial disease which can affect the central nervous system if left untreated.

Some citizens, however, spoke on the Council's lack of information surrounding the deer population.

"If we are going to solve a problem we need data and info," East Lansing resident and former council member Don Power said. "(The city) has written an ordinance without data and info. There is no inventory on the East Lansing deer population ... (or) proof that there is organized deer feeding."

While the city is currently missing this data, city officials are working to collect it for future population control measures.

"I urge the city to consult with wildlife specialists to figure our how many deer we have and how many we need to remove," council member Kathleen Boyle said. "(East Lansing Environmental Services Administrator Cathy DeShambo) has done that and we are on the way to figuring that out.

The ordinance passed unanimously, with all members stressing that the feeding ban is just the first measure to lower the deer population in the city. 

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