Ann Arbor residents file deer culling lawsuit to stop it, calling it 'urban assault'

- Some residents are protesting against a deer cull in Ann Arbor and are presenting city leaders with a lawsuit.

They are calling the deer cull a risky "urban assault."

But the deer cull is moving forward as sharpshooters from the USDA will be in Ann Arbor to kill off deer despite the outrage of some residents.

More than a dozen protesters gathered outside City Hall to condemn the city's deer cull. Inside council chambers, it was standing room only.

Residents sounded off on a plan to kill the deer over the next two months.

"We are taking a firing squad approach to shooting our small problems with nature," said one resident to the council.

Some residents say the deer are becoming a nuisance, eating their plants, causing car crashes and worse.

"I live in the outskirts of Ann Arbor and I utilize the parks there," said one man who was protesting for the deer cull. "They are very mangy. With the population this size they are definitely spreading diseases."

The cull will take place in closed nature areas and city parks.

"Parks close at 4 p.m. that's when kids get out of school," said one protester. "Lots of kids cut through the park and people use the parks for walking their dogs. There are all kinds of dangers.

"Sharpshooters going in with their lethal weapons shooting things in the dark just speaks of disaster."

That's just one reason many in Ann Arbor are calling the cull illegal

Attorney Barry Powers filed a lawsuit against the city saying the cull violates state law and jeopardizes public safety.

"You can't hunt out of season, you can't hunt at night," Powers said.

Sabra Sanzotta is one of more than a dozen plaintiffs named in the lawsuit.

"It's going to turn into a bloodbath and a firefight within yards of my home," she said. "That's what makes me personally invested to fight back against it."

It is unclear how a DNR requirement will impact the city's plans.

There's a 450-foot buffer between the sharpshooters and nearby homes.  Sharpshooters will have to get written approval from homeowners if they want to get any closer.

It is a rule Ann Arbor did not want to abide by.

The city has been engaging in conversations which Ms. Sanzotta found out by doing the Freedom of Information Act," Powers said. "Secret conservations about how to subvert that very rule. Because the city said if the 450-foot applies - that home safety zone - we can't do it."

Some residents are now gathering the signatures of homeowners that live within the 450-feet buffer zones to disrupt the city's culling plans. Powers is hoping he can reach an agreement with Ann Arbor.

The city attorney would not comment.

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