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Chronology of a deer cull

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By Margaret A. Leary

February 2014: Washtenaw Citizens for Ecological Balance founders present to the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, arguing deer damage defeats the purpose of the county’s Natural Areas Preservation Program.

March: WC4EB presents to county commissioners, making the same point.

May: The City Council directs the city administrator to develop a deer plan.

August: The city administrator’s report states the need for an official Deer Management Plan. The council directs staff to develop the plan.

Dec. 10: First public meeting about that plan.

Feb. 5, 2015: Second public meeting.

February and March: Aerial deer surveys.

April 15: WC4EB’s recommendations sent to city staff.

April 16: Third public meeting.

May: Staff recommendations for deer management, including a cull, go to the council and include the WC4EB report.

July 13: Council holds a deer work session for a Humane Society of the United States presentation on non-lethal methods, and public comment.

Aug. 17: Council approves, 8-1, the Deer Management Plan for the next four years.

Late fall: Ecologist J.B. Courteau’s study shows severe deer damage to Bird Hills Park.

Nov. 5: The council completes a 2016 cull plan, suspending firearms prohibition and hiring USDA sharpshooters.

October, November, December: The Humane Society of Huron Valley, Friends of Ann Arbor Wildlife in Nature, Save the Deer Ann Arbor and others continue to protest. Sabra Sanzotta files a petition to recall Councilmember Kirk Westphal.

Dec. 8: The Parks and Recreation Commission receives Courteau’s report on significant deer damage at its Leonard Preserve in Washtenaw County.

Dec. 17: The Washtenaw County Election Commission rejects Sanzotta’s petition 2-1 after U-M professor Chris Dick writes to them that the assertions in the petition are not factual.

Dec. 31: Sanzotta and others file suit in federal district court for the Eastern District of Michigan to enjoin the cull.

Jan. 11, 2016: The federal court refuses to enjoin the cull. Sanzotta withdraws the federal suit.

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