Montreal

The Longueuil deer still haven't been moved and there's no end in sight to the saga

When the City of Longueuil decided to cull half the deer population in one of its parks, there were protests and death threats. The city has since backed off, but the deer's fate is once again up in the air because the plan to relocate the deer has been deemed unsafe.

City hired private company to come up with relocation plan, but committee says it has too many holes

A veterinary ethics committee has rejected the rescue plan of a private company hired by the City of Longueuil. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Three months after the city of Longueuil's decision to euthanize more than a dozen deer sparked outrage, and even death threats, the fate of the animals is once again up in the air.

The public backlash forced the city to scrap the idea of culling about half of the deer population at Michel-Chartrand park, and it hired a private company, Sauvetage Animal Rescue, to come up with a plan to relocate the deer.

A veterinary ethics committee, which needed to approve the plan for the mission to go ahead, found too many red flags to give it the green light, including concerns that the animals would panic during the mission, and endanger the lives of everyone involved.

"They can reach a speed of over 40 kilometres per hour, and a male can match Laurent Duvernay-Tardif in terms of size, so imagine deer like that panicking," said Jean-Pierre Vaillancourt, a veterinarian at the Université de Montreal, who chairs the committee.

There were also issues with the drugs the company intended to use to sedate the deer and the company's inexperience when it came to trapping and relocating deer, Vaillancourt said.

In total, the committee identified close to 60 problems with the company's proposal.

Last fall, the city of Longueuil said Michel-Chartrand park was dealing with an overpopulation of deer, which threatens the vegetation in the two-square-kilometre patch of green space, and has also caused the animals to venture onto roads and private property.

Local elected officials, including the city's mayor, received death threats as a result of the decision to cull the deer.

 Sauvetage Animal Rescue is expected to submit another proposal next week.

The plan would need to be overhauled, in order for it to have any chance of being approved, according to Vaillancourt.

With files from Steve Rukavina

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