Letter: Don’t Treat Deer as Pets

Letter: Don’t Treat Deer as Pets

To the Editor:

The Potomac Almanac cover photo and story dated Feb.22-28, 2012 misrepresents the harm deer cause to our community. Depicting deer as pets is just plain wrong. Deer are a wildlife species that have exploded to untenable numbers. They roam our neighborhoods foraging for food and methodically devour fledgling trees, plants and ground cover diminishing the sustainability of our woods. It also results in a significant decrease in the number of songbirds who rely on that ground cover for survival according to University of Maryland Extension data. In addition many residents complain of deer destruction to their planted landscapes and vegetable gardens.

The reality of deer devastation to our environment also spills over to people’s daily lives as various media outlets continually report incidents of deer/auto accidents causing injury and even death to people. Deer are also one of several wildlife carriers of lime disease.

Our county and state officials and the National Park Service are all grappling with the best strategies to manage these expanding deer herds. Yet to date there has been little impact on actually reducing deer levels. Some of the impediments to reducing the deer population relate to outdated legislation written when deer herds were very small, and others to opponents who simply want to protect deer.

Articles like yours depicting a Disneyland image of Bambi are plain fantasy. Your artistic cover and picture showing deer as pets comparable to dogs and cats is a community disservice. This article generates an emotional aspect that further clouds the actual consequences of deer in Potomac cited above and also serves to complicate efforts for community solutions.

Officials are stymied by views like yours which contribute to ineffective efforts to significantly manage deer populations, and provide a better environment for future generations.

Frank Lostumbo