What is the municipal government’s role in this issue?

The increasing number of deer in parts of the city have a variety of impacts on city life. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that the city needs to respond to all of them.

For instance, deer can be a problem for gardeners. But gardeners are confronted with many other pests, from woodchucks to aphids that they don’t look to the city to resolve.

1. The city has a number of regulations that prevent citizens from alleviating the pest problem on their own. These range from the fence ordinance (we are not able to have fences tall enough on most property lines to keep out the deer; and we are not permitted to use electric fences on any part of the property) to regulations about what weapons are permitted to be used in the city (even nonlethal weapons like slingshots are prohibited). Most pest problems in city landscapes have solutions that individuals can apply on their own.

2. The problem is an area-wide one where it occurs, not just a spot problem. If I have an aphid infestation on a special plant, it is not affecting my next-door neighbor. The deer infestation is beyond the scope of an individual homeowner to address.

3. The very scale of the problem – having a herd of large animals romp through your back yard is not the same as a woodchuck taking out a few plants.

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