Nova Scotia

Truro woman vows to fight $233 fine for feeding deer in backyard

A Truro woman who was issued a $233.95 fine for feeding deer in her backyard is refusing to pay and says she plans to fight the town's bylaw governing feeding wild birds and animals.

Jeannie Samad says town should set up feeding stations

Jeannie Samad says she has stopped feeding the deer now that they can find their own food. (Jeannie Samad)

A Truro woman who was issued a $233.95 fine for feeding deer in her backyard is refusing to pay and says she plans to fight the town's bylaw governing feeding wild birds and animals.

"I have no regrets," said Jeannie Samad. "I made a stand to feed the deer through the winter."

Last month, town officials said they had issued the fine after some neighbours had complained that the deer tore up lawns, ate shrubs, gardens and became a hazard to drivers.

A bylaw officer met with Samad and a family member four times and told them feeding deer was not permitted, the town said. The feedings continued, resulting in a written warning at first — then the summary offence ticket.

Samad said she's spent about $3,000 on deer feed this winter. It would have been unfair to the deer to cut off food before the snow melted, she said.

"I believe they should be fed instead of starved to death," said Samad.

Samad would like the town to set up feeding stations in harsh winters.

"I think someone should feed them in the winter time," she said. "The town took away their habitat. Where they used to live, they've cleared land. The deer are hungry."

Tom Chisholm, a town councillor, told CBC's Maritime Noon he'd heard complaints from the community.

"The bigger issue is a lot of people are afraid of catching Lyme disease. Deer have deer ticks. If they're in your backyard your own children are going to get it or you're going to get it," he said in an interview last month.

Chisholm said drivers also have concerns.

"You don't expect when you're in town to see a deer jump in front of your car all the time. It's happening," he said.

Samad said she's knows of the complaints against her, but she's also had calls of support.

"They've made an example of me by making a fine," she said.

Samad points out the animal bylaw also prevents people from feeding birds. This winter, the Nova Scotia Bird Society offered advice on how to feed birds having trouble finding food due to the deep snow and frozen ground.

If the town doesn't offer a feeding program, Samad said she'll consider moving next winter, or keep feeding them.

"I couldn't stand to see them coming and not be able to feed them," she said.

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