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Public Debates Rock Creek Park Deer Control

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Over 100 community members crowded the Rock Creek Park Nature Center to discuss the Park's white-tailed deer herd and how to manage its rising numbers.

D.C. resident Jason Berry worries about deer browsing destroying the Park's plants and other wildlife. "In trying to save the deer, we're actually giving a death sentence to a lot of these other plants and animals that are in the understory area," says Berry.

But Chris Ritzert, an avid gardener who lives near Rock Creek, doesn't fear for the Park's vegetation. I make a habit of going out and picking up solid waste from deer. I picked up 21 piles this past Monday morning," says Ritzert, it's revolting."

Which is why Ritzert is among many in the community who advocate lethal deer-control measures. The Park Service is proposing sharpshooting and euthenasia.

Non-lethal methods, such as birth control, are also garnering support--from animal rights groups, and from people like Dawn Grodsky. "The deer eat my flowers and foliage. but I do not think it's a capital offense," says Grodsky.

The Park Service is taking written comments through October 2nd. It hopes to select a strategy by December 2010.

Rebecca Sheir reports...

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