Petition Closed

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.

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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.

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Letter to
Wildlife Bureau Chief, NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation Gordon Batcheller
Cayuga Heights Trustee Richard Robinson
Cayuga Heights Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Karns
and 13 others
Regional Director, NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation Kevin P. Lynch
Cayuga Heights Trustee Chris Crooker
Cayuga Heights Chief of Police James Steinmetz
Cayuga Heights Treasurer Joan Mangione
Cayuga Heights Mayor Kate Supron
Consultant to Cayuga Heights on deer browse study Bernd Blossey
Deer Plan Consultant Paul Curtis
Cayuga Heights Trustee Diana Riesman
Wildlife Manager, Region 7, NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation Steve Joule
Cayuga Heights Attorney Randy Marcus
Deer Program Coordinator, Dept. of Natural Resources, Cornell University Jay Boulanger
Cayuga Heights Trustee Stephen Hamilton
Cayuga Heights Trustee Peter Salton
I am writing to express my dismay at Cayuga Heights Mayor Kate Supron's recent announcement that she has not yet abandoned her backyard deer mass-slaughter program. I urge you to pursue an approach to resolving deer-human conflict that will not involve harming or killing anyone.

The program that was unanimously approved by the Village trustees has been overwhelmingly refuted by national experts in the fields of Lyme disease, forest ecology and veterinary science. Meanwhile, there are proven alternatives that are safe, cost-effective, and nonviolent (for example, allowing adequate fencing, installing roadside reflectors, public education about deer-resistant plantings and repellants, etc).

By choosing these non-lethal alternatives, you will have a chance to be true leaders. On the other hand, if you move forward with your killing plan, against all logic and reason -- not to mention science and ethics -- you will forever be known as someone who consciously chose to take innocent life and divide your community, when a far better approach was well within your grasp.

It is not too late to change course. Please abandon your deer-killing plan and consider implementing non-lethal, proven techniques that allow people and deer to live together in harmony. Do so not just for the deer, not just for the people who care about them, not just for the children of your community, but also for yourselves. It is the right thing to do.

Jennifer Stein started this petition with a single signature, and now has 14,532 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.