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Four property owners file lawsuit trying to stop MetroParks deer reduction plan

YOUNGSTOWN – Four people who live adjacent to the Mill Creek MetroParks have filed a long-discussed lawsuit against the park district over the deer reduction plan approved by the park board April 10.

The lawsuit, filed in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court by former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, calls the deer reduction plan the Deer Slaughter Plan and says the plan is based on a deer count commissioned by the park system that used “infrared signatures detected at night via aerial surveillance rather than actual visual sightings of white tail deer in the park or by ‘tagging’ each individual deer.”

Because of the method used, the park district “does not possess an actual or verifiable deer count” and “utilized this flawed count to justify its approval of a plan to significantly reduce the population of white tail deer” “through slaughter ä killing them via bow hunting and sharpshooting beginning in late September 2023.”

The case has been assigned to Judge Anthony Donofrio. A request for comment was sent to Aaron Young, Mill Creek MetroParks executive director.

The lawsuit filed by Donald Allen, Heidi Behnke, Paul Chicone and James Cliff alleges that the MetroParks has provided only “sketchy at best” details of the deer reduction plan and has been “less than forthcoming when pressed for details, repeatedly responding to questions at public meetings with “go check the website” rather than providing specific information about the deer reduction plan.

The addresses given for the four people who filed the suit is 15000 Madison Avenue in Lakewood, which is the address for Dann’s law office.

The suit seeks an order prohibiting the park district from carrying out its deer reduction plan.

For the complete story, read Friday’s Vindicator print or online editions.

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