Animal rights activists are battling a Kootenay community in B.C. Supreme Court over a decision to cull deer.

The Invermere Deer Protection Society is arguing the district of Invermere didn't consult the community before going ahead with plans to destroy 19 animals two years ago.

"We formed the group because we have such a strong feeling about deer. We don't feel that brutality is the answer," said Devin Kazakoff, spokesman for the Invermere Deer Protection Society.

Other B.C. communities use the same public process to obtain permits from the provincial government to cull deer, and the district of Invermere says rules were followed.

"We feel that we had an extensive process involving public committees, surveys of members of the public," said Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft, adding that some people in the community have expressed concern about aggressive deer that could harm their children.

Later this month, the district of Invermere will hold public referendum to ask residents whether they support the culling of deer.