By Kevin Kelley
Spurred by residents’ complaints about the wild animals, Mayor Dennis Clough has proposed a law that would make the feeding of deer illegal.
The mayor told West Life he has received an increasing number of phone calls and letters from residents complaining about damage done by deer.
“Their gardens are being destroyed,” the mayor said.
In some letters, residents complained that the gardens they spent many hours working on are being eaten by deer, which are attracted to food placed out by their neighbors, the mayor explained.
The proposed ordinance, which had its first of three planned readings at City Council’s July 3 meeting, would make it illegal to intentionally feed deer or make food available for consumption by deer on either public or private property.
“A person shall be presumed to have intentionally fed deer, or made food available for consumption by deer, if the person places food or causes food to be placed on the ground or any alternative feed venue outdoors,” the proposed ordinance states.
A resident who, in good faith, places food outdoors for a domestic animal that is eaten by a deer would be defended against prosecution, the proposal notes.
An initial offense of the deer-feeding law would result in a warning; further violations would be categorized as minor misdemeanors and result in fines.
During a very brief discussion of the proposal during their July 3 caucus meeting, some council members expressed skepticism about the workability of such a law.
Council President Mike Killeen asked how the police department would be expected to enforce the law. He also wondered aloud if bird feeders should be required to be 10 feet off the ground in order to not attract deer.
Killeen said he also wants council to study how other cities address the deer nuisance. Clough told West Life the ordinance he proposed is based on a law now on the books in Bay Village.
The ordinance has been assigned to council’s Safety Committee for further study and debate. No meetings of the Safety Committee are presently scheduled. And with council set to go on summer recess in August, no meeting will take place until September at the earliest.