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‘It’s Getting Worse’: Council Hears Complaints Over Deer Population

A Jamestown resident is again imploring local officials to address the city’s booming deer population.

Robert Sisley on Monday told the City Council he’s encountering too many deer, especially in the area of Allen Park. One neighbor, he said, captured 34 deer on camera near Barker Street and Linwood Avenue.

“It’s getting worse every year. It’s a problem,” said Sisley, who counted 14 deer two nights ago walking from Allen Park toward Foote Avenue.

Sisley claimed there are other towns that have successfully implemented a deer harvesting program to reduce the population.

“The council has to look into it,” he said, before asking Mayor Kim Ecklund whether she felt the city has a deer problem.

Ecklund responded, “Certain neighborhoods have an overabundance, yes.”

She suggested that the state Department of Environmental Conservation won’t step in without a plan established or without a proper invitation.

There’s not much police officers can do either, Chief Timothy Jackson said.

“We certainly aren’t resourced enough to handle deer as a police department,” he said.

Sisley said he would assist if a committee was established to look at the city’s deer problem.

“It’s getting to be a bigger and bigger problem every year,” he said.

City Councilman Russell Bonfiglio, R-At-Large, said he recently came across six deer casually walking down the street. He said the deer population is among the most common complaints he hears from the public.

“In my area there is an overabundance of deer,” he said, later adding, “We need to do something. I like the deer, but they’re getting to be a nuisance.”

Councilman Joseph Paterniti said he has advocated for reducing the number of deer “somehow, someway over the years.” He also noted the hazards that an uncontrolled population might bring to the city.

“Not only is it a nuisance, I think people need to realize it’s a big health (and) safety issue as it is a public nuisance,” he said. “I think — as a committee, as a council, as a city — we should probably look at what risks or the liabilities outweigh the dangers that deer create, not only from a safety standpoint but from a health standpoint.”

On numerous occasions, Sisley has addressed the deer problem to members of the City Council.

Under former Mayor Eddie Sundquist, a special committee was established to review the growing population. That committee eventually recommended a controlled deer hunt using archers; however, the City Council voted against the recommendation due to safety concerns and several changes that were made at the last minute.

On Monday, Council President Tony Dolce, R-Ward II, said there have been discussions to bring back the committee to review the deer problem.

“I know people get frustrated with the deer, I understand that,” Dolce said, “but it’s a complicated problem. … I think it needs to be a regional approach along with the DEC. I know they came in several years ago and gave a presentation about it. It’s not an easy fix; there are a lot of things to consider — public safety being No. 1.”

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