Deer Feeding Ban Moves Forward in Avon Lake
Bird feeders hung at heights lower than six feet now will be acceptable.
A hearing on a proposed city law that would ban feeding deer brought out more than 100 people to the Environmental Affairs Advisory Board meeting on Monday, many of whom complained about damage caused by the animals and asked for ways to thin the herd.
Dozens of residents spoke of property damage, accidents and overly aggressive deer.
In the end, the EAAB eliminated a clause that made hanging a bird feeder lower than six feet off the ground a violation of the law. The original proposal included a ban on putting out any feed under a height of six feet, including bird feeders, because deer are attracted to the food.
Violations will be determined by the type of feed, quantity, device or method of feeding.
The proposal now moves to council.
EAAB Chairman Mike Sweeney said the intention was not to completely eliminate deer.
“We’re not trying to get rid of the deer, we’re trying to thin the herd,” Sweeney said. “This is just one piece, one chapter in the book.”
He said other ordinances, including those involving culling and bow-and-arrow hunting, would be reviewed down the road.
Some residents, including Hazel Chapman, supported the ordinance.
Chapman said she is afraid to sit in her backyard because the deer, which have jumped her fence in the past, now crash right through the fencing.
“This is a first step and we have to take it," Chapman said. "It’s absolutely necessary.”
Others disagreed with the ordinance for a variety of reasons.
“What evidence do you have feeding the deer is a nuisance to the neighborhood?” one resident asked.
“I don’t think the city should tell me what I can do in my on backyard. ... I don’t think we should starve them,” another resident said.
Resident James Smith said the ordinance was “a start.”
“It’s not going to dent (the population),” Smith said. “They’re totally out of their zone. They’re eating shrubs; it’s like a buffet. Nothing scares them. For my money, you’re not going to dent the deer problem.”
Several people noted that feeding the deer might prevent them from eating plants and others said the six-feet-high rule was not fair.
The penalty in the proposed ordinance says those in violation could be guilty of a minor misdemeanor and fined between $25 to $200. Defaulting on a payment could result in a jail sentence of up to 30 days.
The proposed ordinance still needs a full vetting by City Council before it can be enacted as a law.