December 30,2004
Solon Herald Sun


SHARK sues over culling

by Bob Sandrick

An Illinois animal rights group has sued the city over its deer-culling program.

Showing Animals Respect and Kindness wants permission to videotape sharpshooters killing deer in Solon. So far, the city has said no.

On Dec. 23, SHARK asked the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to issue preliminary and permanent injunctions that would delay Solon's sharpshooting program, scheduled to begin between January and March.

"We're not asking for the culling not to go forward," said Jacqueline Tresl, an attorney representing SHARK. "We're only asking that it be delayed until SHARK can put cameras on public ground.

SHARK has also asked the court to issue a declaratory judgment against Solon. The statement would say the city was wrong to deny Shark the tight to videotape sharp-shooters killing deer.

"People should be able to see what happens to these animals," said Steve Hindi, president of SHARK. "This is not as fast and humane as they claim."

In the lawsuit, SHARK said that on Nov. 2 it asked Solon's permission to videotape deer sharpshooting in the city. Fourteen days later, the city said no, according to the lawsuit.

SHARK said the city is interfering with it's First-Amendment rights to free expression by not allowing videotaping of deer culling, at least on public land.

The killing sites are on both public and private property. However, the city is keeping the locations secret because it fears groups like SHARK might interfere.

The lawsuit said residents urged city officials to consider non-lethal means of deer control. However, the city hired White Buffalo Inc. to shoot deer. It was the only deer management bid the city received.