For more than a year now, the administration of Mentor has talked about the deer population in its city and how to decrease it.
Mentor averaged about 33 deer per square mile, according to the results of a flyover count the city paid for in March 2010. That count didn't include Veterans Park, which has averaged about 120 deer per square mile during the last 10 years, according to the city.
The administration is concerned that this amount of deer threatens .
Consequently, the city -- over the past year -- has instituted a plan to manage the deer population in Mentor.
The program has five parts: educate the public on the dangers of deer overpopulation; get an accurate count of of the deer population in Mentor and its distribution; start a traffic-safety program that focuses on avoiding crashes with deer; legalize regulated hunting; and use sharpshooters from Mentor Police Department to cull deer herds.
Mentor City Council voted to legalize bow hunting last year (by a 5-2 margin) and, this hunting season, hunters have killed more than 100 deer in the city.
Mentor also received permission from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to begin culling earlier this month. Mentor's culling efforts, which have already started, will focus on five specific properties within Mentor: Morton Park, Mentor Lagoons, Veterans Park, Black Brook Golf Course and the city-owned property around City Hall.
Mentor City Council can add a new facet to the deer management program if they approve legislation that would add deer to the list of "nuisance animals" in Mentor.
The legislation already lists rats, raccoons and skunks as nuisance animals.
If approved, it would become a fourth-degree misdemeanor to feed or harbor deer.
Council can vote on the proposed legislation during their Council meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.
Mentor City Manager Kenneth Filipiak wrote, regarding the proposed legislation:
As it relates to deer feeding, the administration favors a ban on such activity as it presents a public health and safety concern in that it attracts and concentrates these animals into our residential neighborhoods, resulting in property damage and an increased likelihood of negative human-deer interactions, (for example,) deer/car collisions, pets being harmed, deer fecal matter being deposited upon lawns, landscaping/gardens being destroyed, etc.
Additionally, such feeding can reduce the efficacy of the city's culling program and also attracts all types of other nuisance animals to the neighborhood.
The Council can also vote on an ordinance Tuesday that would make it illegal to interfere with lawful deer hunting and culling.
If that legislation were approved, those who block, obstruct, impede or otherwise interfere with the legal hunting or culling of deer -- as opposed to illegal hunting -- in Mentor could face first-degree misdemeanors.
Filipiak said this legislation is patterned after a similar ordinance in Solon.
Also on Tuesday,
- The City Council will have a work session at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall to discuss the possibility of speed bumps and other ways to calm traffic.
- During the Council meeting, Council is scheduled to make an appointment to the Board of Zoning Appeals, Planning Commission, Fair Housing Board, Greater Mentor Port Authority and Tree Commission, as well as eight appointments to the Community Arts Commission.
- The complete agenda and legislation for Tuesday's meeting is attached to this story as a PDF.