Experts Say Deer Mistreated

Veterinarians Support Claim Over Hunt In Parks

Priday, March 5, 2004

Akron Beacon Journal

Three Northeast Ohio veterinarians support an Illinois-based animal rights group in its contention that w/hite-tailed deer were mistreated in Summit County parks.

Videotaped statements from Drs. Alice Jeromin, Bennett Fagin and Richard Slenn were released at a press conference Thursday by the activist group Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, or SHARK. The briefing was held outside the Akron headquarters of Metro Parks, Serving Summit County.

Park officials have said that no deer have been mistreated during an ongoing sharpshooting program to thin the herd in four parks.

Jeromin, a Richfield veterinarian, said that she reviewed a tape made by a SHARK hidden camera on Feb. 24 at Cascade Valley Metro Park in northwest Akron. A deer was shot in the head and continued to move for 2 1/2 minutes.

The deer was still alive after being shot and its treatment was "extremely inhumane," Jeromin said.

SHARK spokesman Steve Hindi said the animals should have been shot a second time to quickly end their suffering.

But Damon Greer of the Ohio Division of Wildlife said movement after being shot is common and may last four to five minutes even though the deer is already dead.

Greer said he has observed the sharpshooters killing the deer in Sand Run and Cascade Valley parks in Akron, Silver Creek park in Norton and Munroe Falls park in Munroe Falls and has seen no evidence of the animals being mistreated or suffocated after being shot, as was alleged by SHARK.

If anything had been wrong, he said, the state would have stepped in and stopped the deer killing.

The shooting of as many as 125 deer to protect the park district's plant and animal life from the growing herd is set to end Saturday.

Keith Shy, executive director of the park district, said he was satisfied that the sharpshooting plan was the most humane method for killing the deer, and that proper steps were being taken by park rangers and White Buffalo Inc., a Connecticut-based firm.

Anthony DeNicola, president of White Buffalo, also denied that any deer have been suffocated or been mistreated.

At the press conference, Brian Stormer of Akron spoke out against shooting the deer.

Stormer called on Akron officials to investigate filing a charge of cruelty to animals against the park district and to revoke approval for firing guns in the city.

Since SHARK began protesting the sharpshooting program, Akron officials have received about 50 e-mail messages and telephone calls, many from out of state.

But Akron is not inclined to tell another entity, such as Metro Parks, how to manage its operations, said city spokesman Mark Williamson.

SHARK planted small cameras in the parks and recorded the deer shooting. Eight of the cameras were found and seized by park officials. Park officials have refused to release the confiscated cameras.

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