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Bloomington Council Overrides Mayor’s Deer Sharpshooter Veto

Ordinance 14-04 would allow city appointed sharpshooters to reduce the deer population at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve.

The Bloomington City Council voted Wednesday to override Mayor Mark Kruzan’s veto of an ordinance that would allow for sharpshooters to cull deer in Griffy Lake Nature Preserve in an effort to address overpopulation.

In his veto message to the council, Kruzan had said that he could not support the killing of deer in the community “as a matter of conscience.”

Councilmember Dave Rollo was pleased with the outcome.

“I think that this is policy guided by sound science,” Rollo said.

Rollo was part of the “Deer Task Force” that was created two years ago by the Mayor after residents around Griffy Lake expressed concern over the deer population.  Much of the concern was based around how the over abundance of deer were affecting the biodiversity of the preserve and other animals.

The task force compiled information for two years before issuing a report with their recommendation. Rollo brought the legislation forward with councilmember Andy Ruff.

The issue has sparked much debate in the city, and many citizens both for and against turned out Wednesday to have their voices heard.

Sandra Shapshay has been a vocal opponent of the ordinance since the deer task force first issued their report.

“I read the report carefully and was alarmed at the lack of really serious consideration of non-lethal options to this ecological issue,” Shapshay said.

The council voted 7-2, with council members Dorothy Granger and Timothy Mayer  voting against.

The vote wasn’t an easy one for many councilmembers, including Council President Darryl Neher.

“I’m conflicted because the issue really does boil down to two rights, and how you perceive either the protection of the deer or the protection of the larger ecosystem,” Neher said.

The ordinance now goes to the Parks commissioners, who will decide when and how to enact the sharpshooting strategy, though it likely wouldn’t occur for several months.


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