Metro Parks, Serving Summit County on Tuesday returned confiscated video equipment to an Illinois-based animal rights group.
Six cameras and accessories -- together valued at more than $5,000 -- were turned over to Steve Hindi of Showing Animals Respect and Kindness and attorney Edmund Sawan.
The park district had confiscated the cameras on Feb. 29, after the equipment was discovered mounted to trees in the parks during its 13-day operation to reduce the white-tailed deer herd.
Sharpshooters killed 119 deer in Sand Run and Cascade Valley parks in Akron, Silver Creek park in Norton and Munroe Falls park in Munroe Falls.
The deer were shot because of the damage they were inflicting on the park's flora and fauna.
The park district had repeatedly told Hindi that it would release the photographic equipment as soon as his group provided proof of ownership, said park district spokeswoman Susan Fairweather.
She said that park officials had not viewed what had been recorded on the confiscated equipment.
Hindi said two cameras were damaged, a third would not turn on and the other three appeared to have had the hard drives wiped clean. Two additional cameras are unaccounted for, he said.
His group plans to contact the manufacturers to see if anything can be salvaged from the six cameras, he said.
He said his group would also look at filing charges of damaging private property or tampering with evidence against park officials.
Fairweather said the park district only seized six cameras and the equipment was stored in the condition it was found in the rangers' evidence room.
Park officials have no knowledge of the two additional cameras or whether the equipment was damaged, she said.
Hindi's group had attacked the Summit County deer hunt, claiming the animals were being mistreated. It has a Web site at www.akrondeertorture.com.
It charged that the animals were shot and then were dragged or suffocated with plastic bags over their heads while still moving. They should have been shot a second time to end their suffering, Hindi said.
Park officials have said no deer were mistreated, and that such twitching is common after a deer is shot. They said the plastic bags were placed over the animals' heads to keep blood from draining onto the ground in the parks.