Wednesday, August 19, 2009

KANSAS NEWS: Police Officers to do the Shooting at Shawnee Mission Park

The Lenexa City Council on Tuesday cleared the way for police officers to significantly reduce the deer population in Shawnee Mission Park this fall.

The council unanimously approved a special event permit to allow a deer harvest in the southern half of the park, which is within Lenexa’s city limits. The park’s northern half is in Shawnee.

The permit, which costs $75, runs from Oct. 1 to Jan. 31 and was sought by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District.

Lenexa Mayor Mike Boehm said approving the permit wasn’t a matter of passing judgment on the deer program. He said that issue had been settled by the county Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners.

“It’s on parkland owned by the county. It’s their jurisdiction,” Boehm said. “They can lock down the park and do it in a safe manner. We believe it should be allowed.”

Vicki Charlesworth, Shawnee’s assistant city manager, said her city has an ordinance allowing law enforcement officers to shoot within the city limits, and that park officials did not need a special permit.

The park district is recruiting volunteer police officers to reduce the herd from about 200 deer per square mile to 50 — a 75 percent reduction. The culling could begin as early as October.

If shooting the deer doesn’t kill enough, the park district plans to bring in bow hunters to finish the job.

The park covers 3.5 square miles.

Park officials have said factors influencing their recommendation were statistics on deer-vehicle accidents, complaints from homeowners and commercial businesses about increased plant and landscaping damage, and concerns about diseases associated with ticks carried by deer. They added that the deer population also was affecting the ecology of the park.

Animal-rights activists have argued that overdevelopment in the area has destroyed deer habitat and have urged implementation of nonlethal methods of deer control.

Source: Kansas City Star

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