Craig Mayor, PETA exchange letters
How to comment to the Craig City Council:
• Residents can submit letters to the Craig City Council on what they would like the council to do regarding deer removal in the city by dropping them off at Craig City Hall, 300 W. Fourth St., or by e-mailing city manager Jim Ferree at email@example.com
Craig Mayor Don Jones needed just a few words to describe his response to a letter from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals regarding the city’s discussion on deer removal.
“Very politically correct,” he said with a laugh.
Jones said the city received a letter from PETA on Oct. 28, and he responded Tuesday.
PETA’s letter, which came in the form of an e-mail to Jones and city manager Jim Ferree, was written by a PETA senior cruelty caseworker.
The letter addressed the city council’s consideration of a Colorado Division of Wildlife three-tiered plan for removing a portion of the deer inside city limits. The plan was recently presented at a community workshop.
Those options include establishing an archery hunting area and season outside city limits, trapping and killing deer, and/or having a team of marksmen come in to the city to kill deer at night.
The DOW said they would prefer to employ all three options in Craig.
In the letter, PETA writes that bow hunting is “among the cruelest forms” of wildlife control.
“Bow-hunters often spend hours tracking the blood trails of animals before finding them,” PETA wrote. “Many are not found, and their deaths (are) slow and painful. It can take weeks for some to succumb to their injuries.”
PETA writes in the letter “the use of sharpshooters … would be far less cruel.”
“However, all lethal initiatives tear families apart and leave young and weak animals vulnerable to starvation, dehydration, and predators,” PETA writes. “Lethal methods also backfire. When animals are killed (or) removed from the area, a spike in the food supply results. This prompts accelerated breeding of those animals who inevitably fill the void.
“You’ll have an increase in deer population numbers.”
Jones described PETA’s letter as “just your typical, nice letter from PETA.”
The mayor said he understands why PETA wrote the letter, but doesn’t plan to put much stock in the organization’s opinion.
“They don’t live here,” he said.
In his response letter, Jones said he “appreciates” PETA’s interest in the matter, but the city is “focusing on those suggestions that have been researched by individuals and organizations familiar with the specifics of this community.”
“The burgeoning population of deer in our city is a serious issue that has generated a variety of opinions within our community,” Jones wrote in the letter. “The city of Craig will continue to devote its time and resources to attempt to reach a solution acceptable to all parties and to act on those solutions that will carefully, thoughtfully and appropriately address their legitimate concerns.”
Ferree said the city has received more than 35 letters, e-mails and phone calls from residents about the DOW’s proposed deer removal plan and how the city council should rule on the matter.
PETA’s letter, Ferree said, was handled in the same manner as other letters received by the city.
“(It has) probably no more or no less weight than all the other comments we have received,” he said.
Ferree said the city hasn’t had additional contact with PETA or other similar organizations.
The city council will discuss and make a decision about the DOW’s recommendations for removing urban deer at its Nov. 9 meeting, Ferree said.
“(The) DOW has more or less asked us to endorse their deer removal plan, and that will be on the agenda for the city council, to consider whether or not to endorse that plan,” Ferree said.
The city council will also introduce an ordinance at its next meeting addressing the fines for feeding deer and other big-game animals in city limits.
City attorney Kenny Wohl said the ordinance would make feeding deer punishable up to a $300 fine and/or a maximum of 90 days in jail, if approved. However, the council may change the proposed punishments, Wohl said.
Council member Jennifer Riley said she has received numerous e-mails and comments from residents about the DOW’s deer proposal.
Riley said she is advocating for the council to treat aggressive deer on a situational basis.
“I don’t think we should treat aggressive deer any differently than we treat aggressive dogs,” she said. “I think if there are aggressive situations with deer, those should be dealt with. But, like with the dogs, I don’t think there needs to be a blanket extermination of deer.”