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Shot for a Tulip? Say NO to Cayuga Heights NY's deer-killing plan
  • Petitioned Gordon Batcheller

This petition was delivered to:

Wildlife Bureau Chief, NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Gordon Batcheller
Cayuga Heights Trustee
Stephen Hamilton
Deer Program Coordinator, Dept. of Natural Resources, Cornell University
Jay Boulanger
Cayuga Heights Attorney
Randy Marcus
Wildlife Manager, Region 7, NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Steve Joule
Cayuga Heights Trustee
Diana Riesman
Deer Plan Consultant
Paul Curtis
Consultant to Cayuga Heights on deer browse study
Bernd Blossey
Cayuga Heights Mayor
Kate Supron
Cayuga Heights Treasurer
Joan Mangione
Cayuga Heights Chief of Police
James Steinmetz
Cayuga Heights Trustee
Chris Crooker
Regional Director, NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Kevin P. Lynch
Cayuga Heights Deputy Mayor
Elizabeth Karns
Cayuga Heights Trustee
Richard Robinson
Cayuga Heights Trustee
Peter Salton

Shot for a Tulip? Say NO to Cayuga Heights NY's deer-killing plan

    1. Jennifer Stein
    2. Petition by

      Jennifer Stein

      Ithaca, NY

UPDATE: The Cayuga Heights trustees unanimously approved their deer killing plan in a sneak vote on April 4, 2011, despite overwhelmingly evidence presented by national experts in the fields of Lyme disease, forest ecology and veterinary science refuting the basis of their proposal. A court injunction delayed the killing for a year. However, the legal challenge was ultimately unsuccessful. So now the Cayuga Heights government plans to begin killing deer in December of 2012. There is still time to stop this tragedy from happening, which is why we need you to sign and propagate this petition as widely as possible. Thank you for your help!






On January 9, 2012, they changed the firearms law so that shooting could be carried out by contractors in the village's residential neighborhoods, in proximity to family homes.

On January 6, a temporary injunction was granted by the NY State Court of Appeals to stop the program from moving forward until the appeal is ruled upon. So, right now, this injunction is all that stands in the way of the mass-slaughter. 

Your help is needed now, more than ever! 

Please consider contributing to the Deer Legal Fund, PO Box 404, Ithaca, NY 14851. Please also continue to urge others to sign this petition, before it's too late.

 Get the latest news and updates at cayugadeer.org


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Cayuga Heights -- a village embedded within the larger community of Ithaca, New York -- has been said to have the most Ph.D's per capita of any municipality in America. Yet the Village Board has just approved a dangerous, immoral, and frankly bizarre plan that calls for every single deer in the village to be either violated or killed. It seems these human-habituated animals’ appetite for tulips, heirloom tomatoes, and ornamental shrubbery has, in the minds of the mayor and trustees, created a situation so dire and unacceptable, that action of the most extreme sort is not only justified, but urgently required.

The first phase of their plan involves capturing 20 female deer, surgically sterilizing them, then puncturing their ears with numbered tags and encumbering their necks with radio collars. These are the "lucky" individuals. The intended fate of every other deer in Cayuga Heights, including pregnant does and fawns, is to be shot dead at bait sites at undisclosed locations and times. This annually performed massacre will be carried out by out-of-town contractors who earn their living exterminating wildlife.

The ethical grotesquery of this plan appears to be lost on those who conceived it, who seem to be oblivious to the mental and emotional torture that will be experienced by the few deer chosen to survive, not to mention the many people who care about these gentle animals. Year after year, deer in and around Cayuga Heights will be lured by piles of corn into the kill zone, and those marked for survival will watch as their herd mates are brutally killed right in front of them. Were such a sadistic policy to be carried out against dogs or cats, or horses, an outraged crowd would spontaneously rise up to stop it. But the deer, ironically, because they live free of direct human control and are no individual's private property, are somehow seen as unworthy of moral consideration.

After just one meeting where the public had an opportunity to offer public feedback on the proposal, the village trustees voted to BAN ALL PUBLIC COMMENT about their controversial deer-killing plan during the 60 day period in which they would be discussing and voting on it. Since those of us who were attempting to be a voice for the voiceless were silenced ourselves, we asked people around the world to contact these legislators and demand that they let voices on all sides of the issue be heard, and that they adopt proven, non-violent alternatives to the outrageous killing plan being proposed. Thanks to the hundreds of people who immediately signed this petition, triggering emails to be sent to the respective decision-makers, the trustees at their next meeting decided to reverse their ban on public comments about deer. However, they still went ahead and approved their irrational, immoral, and unnecessary deer-killing program. At their January 9, 2012 meeting, despite a packed room of people opposing the shooting plan, the trustees voted unanimously to change Village laws and allow shooting in neighborhood yards, near family homes. This was the last obstacle in the way of their sentencing the deer of Cayuga Heights to an Orwellian fate. Thankfully, a legal challenge that is in the works resulted in an injunction that will prohibit the program from moving forward until the case is ruled upon by NY State's Court of Appeals.

Do we really want to live in a society where bureaucrats meet behind closed doors to arbitrarily decide how many of each species are allowed to live, then send technicians out to mark the few chosen to survive as ornamental reminders of a bygone era, doomed to move among us as freaks festooned with the trappings of their utter domination by humans? Do we want to cover the eyes and ears of our children as unsuspecting animals are methodically executed in our neighbors' backyards?

There are many people in and around Cayuga Heights who, through wise plant choices, and skillful use of fencing and deer repellents, enjoy beautiful gardens without causing harm to anyone. Mass killing and extreme control of the area's indigenous wildlife is neither necessary, nor ethical, nor safe. And if it is scientific at all, it represents science at its most twisted.

Everything about this plan is emblematic of the mindset that is destroying our planet. Because the trustees of Cayuga Heights have rejected proven and practical non-violent approaches to reducing deer-human conflict, because they refuse against all reason to allow residents to erect fences high enough to safeguard their plantings, because they have attempted to silence public comment on their controversial proposal -- should the rest of us just sit back and do nothing? Should we accept armed men firing deadly weapons in residential neighborhoods, to protect tulips? Or is it possible, with all the brilliant, creative and compassionate people living in Cayuga Heights and the surrounding Ithaca community, that a more sensible approach can be found?

Help us be heard! The letter below will go to those most responsible for driving this program, including the Cayuga Heights Mayor and all the village trustees. It will also be sent to the Cornell faculty member who designed the program and the state game agency representative who is enabling it. 

THANK YOU for helping us be a voice for the voiceless wildlife living in Cayuga Heights.

Learn more at CayugaDeer.org
Follow our efforts on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact us at contact@cayugadeer.org

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 12,500 signatures
    2. Injunction temporarily halts mass-slaughter of deer in Cayuga Heights

      Jennifer Stein
      Petition Organizer

      On Jan. 6, a temporary injunction was granted by the NY State Court of Appeals to stop the backyard deer-killing program from moving forward until the appeal is ruled upon. However, despite this legal obstacle and overwhelming opposition by village residents, the trustees have remained committed to their killing plan, unanimously passing a new law that will allow the discharge of firearms by contractors in village neighborhoods. So, right now, this injunction is all that stands in the way of the mass-slaughter.

      Your help is needed now, more than ever! Please consider contributing to the legal effort, which has thus far been responsible for obtaining the injunction and having Net & Bolt slaughter taken off the table. The appeal now being prepared challenges the basis of the deer-killing program. Contributions (not tax-ductible) can be made out to "Deer Legal Fund" and sent to PO Box 404, Ithaca, NY 14851. Also, please continue urging others to sign this petition, before it's too late.

    3. Reached 10,000 signatures
    4. Jennifer Stein
      Petition Organizer

      RESIDENTS SUE CAYUGA HEIGHTS AND NY STATE DEPT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION (DEC) OVER DEER KILLING PLAN: The suit, filed May 23rd, alleges that Cayuga Heights' plan to sterilize approximately 20 deer and kill all the rest is arbitrary, capricious, and irrational. It also claims that the Village failed, as required by NY State law, to take a "hard look" at reasonable alternatives and the potential impacts on human health, the deer population itself, and the existing community character. Learn more here:

    5. Jennifer Stein
      Petition Organizer

      CENSORSHIP IN CAYUGA HEIGHTS: The Village trustees now plan to ban signs and visuals at their meetings. This is based on a history of signs being displayed that portray beautiful imagery of deer alongside pleas for empathy and compassion, which they ironically characterize as creating a climate of "intimidation" and "harassment"! Watch TWO NEW VIDEOS at this link, one on the censorship decision and one on the growing rebellion in Cayuga Heights, which should inspire us all!

    6. Reached 8 signatures
    7. Jennifer Stein
      Petition Organizer

      TONIGHT (Friday, Apr 22) at 7 pm EST, the Cayuga Heights deer controversy will be featured on "Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell", on CNN's Headline News channel (HLN). Ann Druyan, long-time Cayuga Heights resident, science luminary, writer/producer, wife and partner of the late Carl Sagan will be interviewed. Ann has been outspoken about the lack of scientific justification for the killing program, as well as the barbarism of Net & Bolt slaughter. Tune in! Then please get more people to sign this petition so we can reach our goal of 10,000. We must stop this depraved killing program before it begins - which could be as soon as September, 2011.

    8. Reached 7 signatures
    9. Jennifer Stein
      Petition Organizer

      National science experts from Harvard, Yale, Tufts, and the author of a new Lyme Disease book, have all refuted the rationale for Cayuga Heights' deer-killing plan, assessing it as: “Misleading”, “deeply flawed”, “lack of a scientific basis”, “insufficient evidence”, “no site-specific data” “commits a serious oversight”, “contains many inaccurate and unsupported statements”, and more. Nevertheless, the Village Trustees are still proceeding with their plan to kill the deer.


    Reasons for signing

      • 7 months ago

      we should protect all animals--please stop killing deers and all our animals friends--Thank you

    • Kathryn Higa HONOLULU, HI
      • 11 months ago

      The fact that human suburbs are a deer-friendly habitat may be a simple indication that we need to learn to co-exist. When we have even more people on the planet and excessive urban crowding, how will we decide which people to hunt and kill?

    • linda norris SOMERSWORTH, NH
      • 11 months ago

      Killing deer will not stop Lyme Disease or improve the statistics, it will not stop herbivores from eating tulips, what a stupid, waste of a life..shot over some flowers...in the 16 th century people were murdered over tulips!! This insanity need to stop, they are only tulips!

    • Linda Criner OLYMPIA, WA
      • 11 months ago

      Illustrates why we need intact ecosystems and wolves

    • Nancy Armer READING, PA
      • 12 months ago

      I am a dedicated animal lover and things like this just make me sick. Why do we use any excuse to willfully kill any animal. We have become a nation of savages.


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