WASHINGTON - A federal judge has turned down an effort by opponents to stop a planned deer hunt in Rock Creek Park.
U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins dismissed the lawsuit. In his opinion, he writes that it is not the role of the court to decide how the deer are controlled in the park.
The National Park Service says its plan for the first-ever hunt in Rock Creek Park is necessary to control the deer population which is doing major damage to native plants and habitat for other animals.
"We are pleased with the judge's ruling and we look forward to implementing the plan. No dates have been set yet, and we will notify the public as soon as our plans are made and in place," says Deputy Superintendent of Rock Creek Park Cindy Cox.
Cox tells WTOP she cannot release any more information right now.
Five D.C. residents, along with the group In Defense of Animals, filed a lawsuit in an attempt to get the Park Service to consider other, non-lethal ways of controlling deer in the park.
"The National Park Service's program to kill these deer has been deemed lawful by this judge, but that doesn't mean it's moral or it's the right use of taxpayer dollars," says Jessica Almy, an attorney representing the opponents who sued.
Carol Grunewald, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, supports using contraception to control the deer.
"We've got the most educated and enlightened people living in Washington D.C. and they don't want the deer massacre to occur annually in their beloved park," says Grunewald, who started a petition on change.org to try to stop the National Park Service's plan.
So far, more than 2,500 people have signed the petition.
Read the court order and decision below:
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