Longueuil cancels deer cull, citing threats; deer will be moved from park
MONTREAL -- After a two-week controversy over a planned cull of deer in a public park -- a controversy that got so heated it required police involvement -- Longueuil authorities abruptly changed course Monday evening and announced they were calling off the plan over safety concerns.
The plan was "approved by the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks and supported by a broad consensus within the scientific community," Longueuil Mayor Sylvie Parent wrote in a release at 9:55 p.m. Monday
However, she wrote, "the threat posed today by certain people to harm or even thwart the implementation of the cull...forces us to consider another option."
Instead, the city will move the 15 white-tailed deer from Michel-Chartrand Park "to an authorized site," she wrote.
The wildlife ministry will specify the details of the trip. On Tuesday the ministry told CTV News it understood and would approve the request, though a spokesperson added the deer wouldn't necessarily survive this kind of relocation.
"It should be remembered that relocation to a refuge, which involves the capture, transport and release of the animal into a new environment, represents stressful manipulations that have the potential to greatly affect the chances of survival of the relocated individuals," the spokesperson wrote.
Parent said the city would act fast.
"Considering the importance for the City of proceeding with the reduction of the herd in the short term, this move must be done in the coming weeks," Parent wrote.
The two-week saga, which ended up involving police protection for Parent, charges against at least one person who made threats against her, reached a new stage Monday with the involvement of a prominent lawyer.
Well-known Montreal lawyer Anne-France Goldwater, working with the organization Animal Sauvetage Rescue, offered earlier Monday to relocate the animals to a sanctuary free of charge.
There were other options out there, too, Goldwater told CTV News earlier in the day
"They're going to have to find another solution. And the other solution, I'm going to pay for it, because all you have to do is give the lady deers contraception," she said.
"And the contraception, called Spayvac, costs $100 to $200 a dose to administer."
The city of Longueuil had already laid traps for the deer. Monday afternoon, they said enough had been said on the subject.
When asked about the idea of deer relocation, a spokesperson for the city said moving deer isn't often successful.
Longeuil had obtained a permit to cull roughly half the 30 white-tailed deer living in Michel-Chartrand Park; officials say the deer population is twice what the park can support.
Last week, police made arrests in connection with alleged threats made online against the mayor and local officials.
Part of plan had also been to donate the venison to local food bank. Goldwater had said she also objected to that idea.
"This is pretty disgusting," she said. "I think we're a pretty rich province and we can donate food to the poor without having to kill Bambi and her whole family."
--With files from The Canadian Press