Source: Detroit News
PONTIAC -- The controlled killing of deer by Oakland County Sheriff's sharpshooters will continue in Rochester Hills after a judge denied a request Wednesday to stop the effort intended to reduce the herd.
Oakland Circuit Judge Nanci Grant considered and rejected arguments by two residents seeking to stop the sanctioned deer cull in Rochester Hills. They claim it's unnecessary and endangers the public.
Martha Black and Craig Bauman filed a lawsuit against the city, county and state, claiming the cull violated city ordinances and that it could result in death or injuries to residents or visitors from the use of high-powered firearms in the city.
In a four-page ruling, Grant said the preparation work undertaken by the city, including surveys, reports and extensive safety measures to be employed, demonstrated that the city recognizes these concerns and is not acting in a "capricious or arbitrary matter."
"The City has provided a detailed description of the comprehensive safety measures that will be in place during the operation, including measures that will prevent bullets from straying from the area and prevent members of the public from entering the area while the operation is underway," Grant wrote.
Grant wrote that she is not unsympathetic to the plaintiffs' cause.
"The destruction of animals in this matter as a means of controlling their population cannot be carried out without at least an element of cruelty," she said.
In November, the City Council adopted a resolution allowing the controlled kill by deputies to reduce the number of car-deer collisions. The resolution banned shooting on private, residential or commercial property. More than 367 car-deer collisions have occurred in Rochester Hills since 2007, and officials said residents have expressed concerns about disease, agricultural and crop damage from deer.
Sharpshooters from the Sheriff's Office, which patrols the city under contract, have shot four deer.
Bauman said he is disappointed by the ruling but not deterred.
"We will shift our focus away from the Oakland courts and turn it to the Rochester Hills City Council. There are hundreds of people who are displeased about this, and we will make ourselves known," Bauman said.