Prairie Post (East Edition)

Creative solutions called for to deal with deer population

- Editor:

I have a modest proposal for improving the lives of the growing deer population in Lethbridge.

Taking the lead from friends and neighbours who already treat them as pets, by lovingly putting out food during harsh winter conditions and by planting attractive garden plants for them to eat in summer, I suggest the City extend the current Animal Care Bylaw to apply also to deer.

Deer should be licensed just as dogs are. This will help identify responsibl­e care givers (those who feed the dears) if the animals in their care wander away.

Licensing fees will help offset the increased costs of bylaw enforcemen­t and shelter management.

To ensure the population of these lovely creatures does not expand exponentia­lly (which it naturally will), sensible carers will want to see their charges spayed and neutered.

Feral packs of deer wandering the streets of our city pose a hazard to vehicles (and needless deaths and injury to the deer), to say nothing of the potential harm that could be done by sharp hooves and antlers to other animal friends of ours, or even children. The population can be controlled easily by this simple procedure.

I should think many business opportunit­ies can arise from this proposal.

The number of veterinary services will obviously increase and so too will the need for more animal health care specialist­s. (Perhaps some would be willing to take on human patients to help alleviate the doctor shortage in the city.)

Enterprisi­ng food producers will no doubt prepare local organic deer feed to meet the nutritiona­l needs of our fourlegged friends.

I’m sure there could be blends with different supplement­s appropriat­e to the seasons.

Retail pet stores will see growth in sales. I see many of them carry cute clothing and costumes for other fur-babies.

Why not have deer jackets to help keep the dears warm in winter?

Or how about red nose costumes to go with their antlers around Christmas?

In short, the growing deer population in Lethbridge is a problem. Proper care for the animals who share the city with us is a must.

Applying the same animal care principles and rules we already have for our other furry friends is the way to go. (With apologies to Jonathan Swift)

Bruce MacKay, Lethbridge

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