City Desk

Memories of Rock Creek Deer Slaughter Could Force Woman to Sell Her Home

Sharpshooters working for the National Park Service are set to start killing some of Rock Creek Park's deer this winter, partly to keep the animals from destroying the park's trees. But for people who live near the park, the culling could have dire consequences, according to a new lawsuit filed to stop the killing.

The suit, filed on behalf of five frequent users of the park and California environmental group In Defense of Animals, alleges that residents could suffer a variety of consequences, from being forced to sell their homes to no longer being able to make paintings of deer.

Carol Grunewald, a Chevy Chase resident who lives near the park, could no longer go to the park if the cull plan begins. "Ms. Grunewald will need to stop using the Park to minimize the chance that she will see dead or dying deer and because it will no longer be a place of solitude and tranquility, but instead will cause her great anxiety and distress," the lawsuit reads.

The National Park Service announced the plan, which involves sharpshooters and archers killing the deer while contraceptives are distributed for  the survivors, in May. According to the Park Service, the park's deer population, once just four in 1960, has ballooned to 80 deer in each of the park's four square miles. The deer population threatens vegetation, especially tree seedlings, in the park, according to the Park Service.

But that's little consolation for Grunewald, who claims that, if the deer are killed, she could be forced to leave her neighborhood. "She may actually have to sell her home where she has lived for over twenty years and relocate to an area that is nowhere near Rock Creek Park," the lawsuit reads.

Another plaintiff, Anne Barton, has lived close to the park for 36 years, painting the deer that come to her yard. According to the suit, though, she would probably stop painting any remaining deer if the cull begins. "She is particularly concerned that a fawn she observed being born in her yard in 2004 will be killed by this action," the lawsuit reads.

The suit, filed against Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Park Service director Jonathan B. Jarvis, alleges that Park Service is violating several laws with the cull. It also warns out that planned use of birth control could be spoiled by the killing, since the deer would be avoiding people after the killings.

Photo by Flickr user Mr. T in D.C. used under a Creative Commons license.

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  • Terry in Silver Spring

    The deer in the photo appears to be blowing a raspberry at us.

  • Dr. Steve Brule

    You know what will cause even more distress? Having a population of deer that is grossly overgrown without a sufficient food supply and in-bred deer because they are overpopulated. I'm a huge supporter of animal rights, but overpopulation is just as dangerous to the well being of animals as is over-hunting.

  • h4pr

    "She is particularly concerned that a fawn she observed being born in her yard in 2004 will be killed by this action."

    Dear Anne,

    The fawn was hit by a car and died along Beach Drive years ago.

    Regards,

    Probability

  • w

    I hope people this sensitive are forced to move far far away. Maybe Portland would work for them.

    I suppose these residents would instead prefer the introduction of coyotes or wolves to control the deer population, along with any off-leash dogs they may encounter. It's either natural predators, or humans that need to cull the herd.

  • Typical DC BS

    Hard to believe we have such stupid people living among us. But we'll probably wind up like England in a few more years, where animal rights start becoming equivalent to human rights.

  • noodlez

    THIS SHIT IS A JOKE RIGHT????

  • Ned

    The plaintiffs ought to be ASHAMED. The tax dollars that it will cost to deal with their frivolous suit will likely come out of the park budget and harm the park.

    I ran some of these addresses through a real estate site. these homes are multimillion dollar homes. what hypocrites. The severe overpopulation causes widespread deer disease, suffering in deer and increases reservoir of human transmittable Lyme disease.

  • http://ConsDem ConsDem

    What a frivolous lawsuit. I live in an apt. bldg. which abuts Rock Creek and we have a small herd that hangs out in the blds. side yard. Let me tell you my heart goes out to the deer - they will starve to death if something is not done to cull the population. I support animal rights but to let the deer starve to death because of overpopulation is cruel.

    These people need to get a life. No sympathy from me for their frivolity.

  • thomas moore

    So felony wrong.

  • JEAN PUBLIC

    I AM AGAINST THIS DEER SLAUGHTER. IT ALWAYS AMAZES ME WHAT VICIOUS PEOPLE THERE ARE IN THIS WORLD, AS SHOWN BY COMMENTS ABOVE. THREE IS NO DANGER TO THE PARK FROM DEER. CLIMATE CHANGE IS DOING A NUMBER ON THE PARKS TREES. THE ENDLESS TOXIC CHEMOCALS, ARENT THERE 24,000 NOW, FLOATING IN THE AIR ALSO ARE KILLING THESE TREES. THE DEER GET BLAMED. SO MANY MANY OTHER FACTORS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR KILLING THOSE TREES. TREES ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE SUFFERING FROM FUNGUSES, INVASIVE EXOTICS ALLOWED HERE BY THE USDA FOR PROFITEERS, LESS SUNSHINET, CHANGE IN TEMPERATURE, AND THE LIST OF FACTORS AFFECTING THOSE TREES NUMBER ABOUT 25. BLAMING DEER IS SPECIOUS, NOT CONCLUSIVE INVESIGATION OF WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING TGO THOSE TREES.OAKS ARE DYING ALL OVER AMERICA. HAS ANYBODY REALLY STUDIED THIS ISSUE? DONT THINK SO FROM THE COMMENTS. LYME CAN BE TRANSFERRED FROM THE BIRDS,THE SQUIRELS, THE SKUNKS, THE WOODCHUCKS, ETC.

  • migsly

    The problem isn't the deer. It's the hunters. The hunters killed off all the deer's natural predators, like the wolves, cougars, etc., now they are faced with an overpopulation of deer.

    Get to the REAL problem - humans and their pop guns.

  • nancy amolini

    hay que empezar a cuidar el planeta!

  • Debby

    What cold calculating individuals!!!! I hope they experience the same lack of compassion that they are showing toward these deer! Furthermore, stop being jealous because people can afford million dollar homes!!!! Yes, I agree with the planned birth control it is more humane. Wow! So many ignorant people out there. With the use of birth control it is a win win situation for everyone involved! Let the herd die out naturally with the use of birth control.

  • Barbara

    When deer are left alone, they stabilize their population. It may go up 30%, but it will then go down 30% Hunting causes deer to respond by reproducing dramatically. And people wonder why we have so many deer.  It's not the fault of the deer!!! The deer are the innocent, exploited victims.
    Several universities have done studies to prove that hunting serves to increase the herd.  If moral or financial reasons aren't enough, there is the fact that hunting simply does not work as a sustainable solution to reduce or even control the deer population due to the principal of reproductive rebound. According to many documented studies, deer conceive multiple embryos, but the number of fawns born is directly related to nutrition and herd density. When herd density is temporarily reduced through hunting, there is reduced competition for food and the number of twins and triplets born actually increases.
    This is called reproductive rebound. According to big-game texts, "Harvesting . . . gets the population into its most productive range . . . this ensures that many animals will be produced."
     

  • Barbara

    It is true that the planned use of birth control could be spoiled by the killing, since the deer would be avoiding people after the killing.

  • Teri

    I think we (Americans) have reached a point that we need to strike balance. As our culture changes, we have more families that are homeless and starving.

    Additionally, we have huge ranches unnaturally packed with cattle. Those cattle are no longer grass-fed or healthy; instead they are fed whatever is available and kept alive by constant antibiotic use.. They live a miserable life and a worse death in the slaughter house.

    It would make more sense to eliminate the unnatural meat and use the meat from the deer that are culled. America would benefit from this change. And it would be much more humane to allow our food animals to live a free life and a quick end.

  • Ann M. Marini, Ph.D., M.D.

    This is yet another cruel, reckless and ruthless order by Salazar. Just like his employees in the Wild Horse and Burro department who have and continue to inflict unspeakable cruelty toward our wild horses and burros. Salazar needs to be FIRED before he destroys all of the animals in the country!

  • john639

    LOL!! you people who claim to have so much concern for these animals and then advocate killing them to save are the biggest joke ever!!
    This is another case of NEANDERTHAL human thinking!
    If you're truly afraid they will starve you could FEED them! Lets see....maybe they could be relocated somewhere they can feed themselves. hmmm, but then humans can only think of killing another living being that has a family and will suffer immensely because they are TRULY too lazy to do anything else.

  • Ivana

    Ok , we should kill all people on this planet who starving . Start in India , Afrika , China and continued. I will go first . I dint; see any difference , to me life is life . Animal or human . To me animal is before human anyway .
    400 tigers on Earth , No elephants , all animals killed , jet bilions humans . Take care human overpopulation and leave animals alone .
    Thank you

  • zizine

    Anything, anytime, something "interferes", is uncomfortabe, with our "American Way of Life", (translation:demands well thought out- planning, noncowardly-non-killing methods, guns are usually the answer, the only answer, for stupid, arrogant, trigger happy rednecks! I am ashamed to have to live among idiots, unintelligent ssholes who believe in their own supremacy! God help them! God help us!

  • Mary

    hmm....don't shoot them but feed and provide contraception to prevent future growth in population. Let them humanely live out their life but not procreate to gradually reduce their numbers. Relocate some if necessary to provide immediate relief.

  • paula plarre

    i love trees, i have them in my yard, but i will never take trees over the beautiful animals that GOD has given to us. shooting innocent animals is never a solution!!!

    SHAME ON YOU11!! they are innocent & trustworthy & you stad there and shoot them!! BAD NEWS!!!!

  • sally Carlson

    Let the deer live out their lives....

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