A new law will allow Avon Lake residents to kill deer outside of hunting season, according to Fox8 on Tuesday.
Under the new law, all deer, including does, bucks and fawns, can be killed. Bow hunting of deer will now be allowed 365 days of the year.
On Tuesday, Mayor Greg Zilka signed off on the legislation. During a press conference held by the mayor, the Police Department, City Council and the Ohio Division of Wildlife, the current legislation was said to be ineffective.
Zilka stated that the current restrictions created a situation “where virtually no property could be utilized for reducing the deer population.” The mayor added “Let me stress that to do nothing is also an unsafe situation.”
Deer, according to Zilka, have destroyed yards, caused car accidents and even attacked a resident. Although the majority of complaints received about deer involved the minor offense of damage to landscaping, the legislation reads that the deer “negatively impacts public health and safety.”
Over the past year, there were three cases of deer poaching within the city. Zilka remarked that illegal poaching highlights the need for regulation since some are already taking matters into their own hands.
City Council member John Schondel helped change the law. “I don’t think for a moment that there won’t be some tweaks or adjustments as we go along probably from the chief of police’s standpoint and also from the Department of Wildlife,” he said.
Schondel said that a survey of deer counted in 2013 showed 220 deer in Avon Lake at that time. Ninety deer damage control permits were issued to residents of Lorain County over the past three years. The law has been changed so that in addition to the state deer damage control permit, property owners must now apply for a municipal deer control permit through the Police Department.
Property owners will have to justify why a permit is needed. Police will be required to visit the property to determine whether deer may be shot there.
A website against the cull, called 'Avon Lake Deer,' instructed residents “if you are unhappy about this latest turn of events, let the mayor and council know. Don’t be duped when they say there are safety standards in the ordinance. Read the ordinance for yourselves. There are not.”
The website includes a 'myths and facts' section on 'thinning the herd,' deer culls, fencing to solve the problem, and the cruelty of bow hunting.
Avon Lake is expected to start issuing municipal deer control permits in about 30 days, once the new ordinance goes into effect.