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Activist says issue isn't over

Park officials refuse to take further action over deer complaints

Fri, Nov. 19, 2004

The Beacon Journal

By Bob Downing
Beacon Journal staff writer

SHARK contends the deer were being mistreated - Metro Parks, Serving Summit County is trying to end the controversy surrounding the shooting of deer last winter, but an animal rights activist from Illinois says the dispute is far from over.

The park commissioners on Wednesday called for no further action on complaints by Steve Hindi of Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK).

But Hindi, contacted after the meeting, said: ``It's not over. It's not over.... Wait for the depositions.''

On Oct. 27, Hindi and attorney Jacqueline Tresl asked park officials to investigate claims that the district was responsible for damaging recording equipment the animal rights organization had placed in parks where deer were being shot last winter. Hindi and Tresl threatened to sue the district.

The commissioners decided not to take further action after receiving a report from ranger supervisor Raymond Dickson, who wrote that ``no new information'' had surfaced that would change the earlier conclusions of prosecutors in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls.

The prosecutors, Dickson wrote, declined to pursue criminal charges against park officials for damaging SHARK's recording equipment and declined to pursue charges against SHARK for trespassing in the parks.

The dispute between SHARK and the park district goes back to February, when sharpshooters killed 119 deer in Cascade Valley, Sand Run, Silver Creek and Munroe Falls parks to reduce the size of the herd.

The park district confiscated SHARK video cameras that were found mounted to trees. SHARK alleges that a park consultant from Connecticut-based White Buffalo Inc. damaged or erased tape from the cameras. that the animals were shot and then dragged or suffocated with plastic bags over their heads while they were still moving.

Park officials said no deer were mistreated, and that such twitching is common. They said the plastic bags were placed over the animals' heads to keep blood from draining onto the ground.