Dear Editor:

Kudos to Cranbrook council for rejecting the squeaky wheel, the Invermere Deer Protection Society. The recent decision to approve the deer cull is a bitter pill to the sometimes violent and vocal animal rights activists who have been drawn to this issue. The societys campaign has morphed from wanting to be involved in local discussions two years ago to inviting the animal rights world to bear down on the Kootenays.

The Animal Alliance of Canada staged a protest on the highway in Cranbrook on Sunday, February 17th, waving placards decrying the citys decision to proceed with a deer cull. Liz White, a full-time staff member of the Toronto-based group, was front and centre, along with deer protection society president Devin Kazakoff. For all their pontificating and posturing, only five people, two of whom dont live in Cranbrook, showed up to protest. They have no support.

What galls most people, myself included, is that these activists will not accept that domesticated deer present a clear and present danger to people and pets. My experience as a conservation officer in the Kootenays, until I retired recently, gives me the background to weigh in on the dangers of domesticated deer. I attended numerous interactions between deer, dogs and humans in Kimberley and Cranbrook, and have seen the cuts and bruises left on dog owners who tried to break up a fight between their dog and a deer.

I have witnessed the desperation in the dog owners eyes as they watched the last bit of life eke out of their pet after a deer stomped it into the ground. I intervened in a deer bearing down on a young girl with her dog on a leash. If I hadnt driven over the curb and cut the deer off, there would have been serious injuries to the dog and likely to the girl. When you add in the damage to landscapes and gardens, the situation is compounded by the financial loss to homeowners. The deer protection societys solution is to chase them out of town with dogs or just leave them alone. Deer should not be herded with dogs; its like pushing water uphill. Deer will usually bolt right into oncoming traffic resulting in more damage and the deer being killed.

Ive chased many cougars and bears out of schoolyards and back alleys of towns in the Kootenays. If you dont like the cull, hunting, trapping, resource extraction and all other things that are not on your ethical list, move from the Kootenays and find like-minded people who protest the things that make your life better.

If you choose to stay in the Kootenays and want to live in harmony with nature, thats quite all right, but dont force your ideology on the rest of us.

To the protestors, petitioners and dozen or so members of the deer protection society, get over it, move on and try to do something productive for the community beyond waving signs and stomping your feet. That only makes you a far greater nuisance than the deer.

Paul Visentin


Member, Kootenay ThinkTwice