Petitioning Westchester County Parks Conservation Director John Baker and 2 others

Teatown, Westchester County - Stop hunting programs in Nature Preserve, County Parks

This petition is in response to Teatown Nature Preserve's plan to kill its deer residents while deliberately avoiding non-lethal, humane methods.  We are including Westchester County's hunting programs in county parks.

Teatown is a nature 'preserve;' for them to conduct a deer slaughter is completely contrary to the concept and spirt of the word 'preserve.' Teatown has several programs specifically directed at teaching children about nature - a secretive nighttime slaughter only teaches children how tobe bullies and kill your way out of a supposed problem.  Teatown has a million-dollar budget and many influential corporate sponsors, including Pepsico, Goldman Sachs and Microsoft;  they have ample funding to institute a birth control program as has been done in Hastings, NY and Fire Island - a program they are fully aware of but simply chose to ignore, making a scurrilous and arbitrary choice to kill them instead, the least ethical, least responsible choice a 'preserve' could make. Encouraged by the DEC, which will gladly kill any bird or animal if the correct amount of money is provided, this slaughter was never discussed with members and donors, many of whom have commented on their unhappiness with it:

'What an antithesis of the mission statement of a nature preserve! For years myself and so many others have supported Teatown-No more!'  

'As a supporter of Teatown for nearly 30 years, I am stunned and disappointed by their decision as to how to address the deer "problem". Somehow , I fail to understand and resent the fact that my donations and fees are being used to kill rather than preserve our wildlife...I'm sure that ,morally, whatever expense , for deer "birth control", would be approved by the many Teatown supporters. Possibly, until the birth control methods yield it's desired results, a program of ,at least minimal, food maintainence could be provided. We must realize that the deer were here long before we were, as were their natural preditors, since we have eliminated their preditors, and reduced their natural habitat, we, morally, should not assume the roll of their preditor but employ a more humane resolution to the problem that we have caused.'

'Leave the deer alone. Spend, spend, spend. Teatown asks for donations all of the time, no more now.'

The fact is, according to several studies, deer kills do not keep numbers down. When deer numbers are reduced after killing programs, the remaining females will often respond by giving birth to twins or triplets.  Fawns also have highter survival rates and earlier onset of sexual maturity.

Please sign this petition and circulate it to as many people as you can, asking Teatown to cancel their needless, cruel and dangerous slaughter, and utilize only humane, non-lethal methods as befitting an organization of its stated mission. Wildlife is being scapegoated and brutalized all over the country; it is unacceptable to perform such outrageous killing at a 'nature preserve' as well. Here of all places we should be creating a model for peaceful co-existence with wildlife.  

Another article about this controversy, with an excellent, compassionate and intelligent video on the birth control effort elsewhere:  The author states, 'Some of the deer will be shot dead. Others will likely suffer excruciating wounds. Bellowing in agony, they would flee their tormentors, wind up on up on the lawns of homes in the vicinity of Teatown where they could suffer slow death. Impressionable children could be exposed to these horrific sights.'


Thank you for your concern and your help!

Letter to
Westchester County Parks Conservation Director John Baker
Executive Director, Teatown Nature Preserve Kevin Carter
Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace
I am writing to express my opposition to Westchester County Parks and Teatown's irresponsible, cruel and dangerous decision to kill its deer residents instead of using humane, non-lethal methods such as birth control, fencing and scent deterrent, as is being done in many other venues. This decision was not reached with the agreement of members and donors, and has caused uproar and disdain for Teatown in the community and the county at large.

Deer are beautiful, gentle, sentient beings who were here before us, who love their babies like us, and have a right to live in peace. Enlightened areas such as Hastings, NY and Fire Island have implemented humane methods, responding to compassionate community concerns for deer and their infants. Knowing this, Teatown never consulted local municipalities for their input, which they should have done; and outside wildlife experts with a national reputation were never consulted - instead Teatown let their own in-house biologist hire the DEC to kill them.

The DEC and USDA/Wildlife Services encourage these deer kills, geese slaughters etc because they are a profit-driven agency to the tune of 126 MILLION per year;they are entrenched mouthpieces for govt. lobbyists and special interest groups. They are not 'impartial,' not 'experts' nor sharpshooters - they are a rogue agency of renegades who are described as 'America's Misnamed Agency' by the New York Times:

They are being challenged by two congressman, and Inspector General Phyllis Fong has agreed to audit them, responding to pressure from thousands of complaints, petitions and outreach from the public.

The fact is, these deer kills, in addition to being hugely controversial and unehtical, create a condition called 'Twinning,' where, according to several studies, when deer numbers are reduced after killing programs, the remaining female will often respond by giving birth to twins or triplets. Fawns also have higher survival rates and earlier onset of sexual maturity.

Deer Culls can be expensive and futile. If you look at places where large culls were done – such as Solon, Ohio or Greenwich, Ct, you”ll find that despite the high proportion of deer taken out by sharp-shooters several years prior, deer numbers and complaints rose in successive years. For example, Solon spent almost a million dollars over a 4-year period to kill 1500 deer, to no avail. As stated in The Solon Patch, “While ending the program saved the city money, the deer herd rebounded.”

Westchester County and Teatown have alarmed and offended its members, donors and the public who count on our parks being non-violent sanctuaries and preserves. There is also no guarantee for the safety of the public, nor that mortally wounded, crying animals won't flee to neighboring yards, to the distress of homeowners and their children. I am asking you, in your official capacity as Director of Parks and as Teatown Advisory Board Members, to do everything in your power to cancel the DEC deer kill contract and stop this sad, barbaric event, and instead work with the community to find a peaceful and safe resolution for all Teatown dwellers, its surrounding area, and the beautiful County of Westchester.

Animal Defenders of Westchester started this petition with a single signature, and now has 2,574 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.