Ann Arbor — November 19, 2017 at 10:24 am

Saving human lives is more important than killing deer


As winter begins, the Ann Arbor City Council’s fixation on lawn care for the rich could have deadly consequences

After losing $100,000 in funding last year, Ann Arbor’s Delonis Center homeless shelter was forced to close a floor full of beds that were badly needed. Meanwhile, the city is spending more than that to shoot local deer.

You probably understand the danger of eliminating needed beds in a homeless shelter as the snow falls. But you may wonder why the city decided it’s more important to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just to kill deer?

The justifications for this lethal expense have shifted faster than the Bush administration’s excuses for invading Iraq.

From bad science about Lyme disease to the “impact on our natural areas,” most recently, proponents of the cull have focused on the need to reduce reported deer-vehicle collisions. Collisions are definitely a concern, though it took until last month before extra “deer crossing” traffic signs began to appear in appropriate areas.

And deer are far from Ann Arbor’s biggest traffic problem.

According to police statistics, cars hitting wildlife is much less a problem for Ann Arborites than bike-vehicle collisions. These tragically common collisions involving cyclists have resulted in actual deaths in Ann Arbor, while, thankfully, no human has died in an Ann Arbor deer-vehicle crash.

Even focusing on any rise in deer-vehicle collisions over the past five years is odd, considering that cull has been going on for the last two years, 40 percent of that time.

Is the cull attracting more deer into Ann Arbor?

That possibility is just as likely as the cull serving any other purpose than offering free lawn care service to our neighbors who are fortunate enough to own homes in the more wild areas that attract deer.

But this isn’t even about deer.

These well-organized champions of public-financed deer extermination have convinced the city that their pet project is more important than sheltering the homeless. Actual human beings.

And they’ve also convinced their captive Council members to adopt methods of culling that are increasingly dangerous to Ann Arbor’s residents.

“In addition to parks and nature areas, the city has acknowledged some shooting of firearms is expected on private properties to carry out the January cull, and the state’s 450-foot safety rule — in terms of the distance between shooters and occupied buildings — no longer applies, which has some residents concerned shooting could occur in their neighborhoods and near their homes without them knowing,” MLive‘s Ryan Stanton reports.

So there will be shooting on private property this winter. Private residents are then charged with alerting their neighbors, while the city will simply send out postcards to inform them that gunmen will be lingering in their neighboring backyards.

The city claims it wants to kill 250 to 350 deer this year. You may wonder how many will they need to kill before they’re satisfied?

They won’t say. Proponents of the cull have refused to suggest an acceptable deer population or even back a solid accounting of our current population. Because if they did either of these things, the cull might possibly end, and we could do things like fully fund our homeless shelter.

And they won’t let that happen. The deer cull lobby in Ann Arbor is pretty damn good. What we need now is a saving humans lobby.

If you think human lives matter more than deer, sign this petition to reopen the closed floor at the Delonis Center now.

But given the sway deer-executing forces have with Ann Arbor’s government, you may also want to make a gift to the Delonis Center, if you can.