Attorney requests delay in MetroParks’ deer-reduction plan

CANFIELD — Attorney Marc Dann has asked Aaron Young, executive director of Mill Creek MetroParks, to postpone a vote tonight on whether to implement a plan to reduce the number of deer in the MetroParks.

Young told The Vindicator today that he “wouldn’t want to speculate or try to predict anything at this point” whether a vote would take place at tonight’s meeting.

Dann’s letter states that his clients, Mickey Drabison and a group of neighbors and patrons of Mill Creek MetroParks, are concerned that the proposal unveiled at the March 13 meeting of the MetroParks board “is more aggressive than it needs to be and is not supported by sufficient evidence or best practices for wildlife conservation.”

It thanks Young for filling some of Dann’s public records request for the methods used to determine the number of deer in the MetroParks, but it states the request also was for “120,000 photographs that Mill Creek Park officials said were used as a basis for determining the extent of deer culling,” which were not provided as requested.

Furthermore, Dann and his clients received documents from the MetroParks late Friday afternoon preceding the Easter holiday and “there has not been an adequate opportunity for those documents to be reviewed by an expert.”

The letter says Drabison and the group In Defense of Animals, which is assisting the group in retaining an expert to review and provide public input into the proposal to reduce the deer herd, request additional time to retain an expert to review the documents the MetroParks provided.

In an email today, Young said he did “wouldn’t want to speculate or try to predict anything at this point” whether a vote would take place at tonight’s meeting.

“I write today to respectfully request that the board refrain from taking any votes or entering into any contracts with vendors related the deer culling until the neighbors and patrons of the park I represent have the opportunity to provide constructive expert analysis of the pending proposals in order to allow the Mill Creek MetroParks Board to make the best possible decision,” Dann stated.

In Defense of Animals, which has an address at Dann’s law office in Lakewood, wrote a letter dated Friday to Dann indicating that the group was “unable to contact our expert and analyze” the data the MetroParks provided before Monday’s meeting. It is signed by Katie Nolan, general campaigner for the organization.

Meanwhile, Drabison also started a GoFundMe page on March 31 that has raised $4,398 through 99 donations as of this afternoon.

The page contains a photo of a white deer with a brown deer and says Drabison and the group Mill Creek Park Save the Deer has a mission for “the long term interest of our Mill Creek Park.”

The posting says the park system has 5,000 acres (the MetroParks says 4,859) over 7.812 square miles (the parks say 7.59 square miles). “They claim there are 397 deer per square mile (The MetroParks say 387). No way is there that many deer and I don’t know anyone other than the Park Board that agrees with that number,” Drabison wrote.

The page says “People come from all over hoping to catch a glimpse” of the three white deer in Mill Creek Park, and come to “take a break from everyday stress and pressure.” People who live near the park “can sit on their deck, sip their coffee and enjoy the breathtaking deer should they make an appearance that morning.”

The MetroParks has said the park does not intend to have any of the three white deer in Mill Creek Park hurt or killed.

The GoFundMe post adds, “As citizens who cherish and enjoy this park every day, we must speak up and try to stop the unnecessary slaughter of these beautify animals. We are asking for donations to help us get the word and for the attorney who has agreed to help us.”


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