City of Longueuil scraps plans to kill 15 deer, will move them instead

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After a two-week controversy that sparked a petition, protest and several arrests in connection with threats against local elected officials, the city of Longueuil is ditching its plan to capture and put down 15 deer.

Mayor Sylvie Parent says the city will work with the province's forestry, fauna and parks ministry to find a safe location for the animals.

In a written statement issued Monday night, Parent said the city had no choice but to scrap the plan, despite having gotten the approval from the province's experts and "a large consensus within the scientific community",

"The threat posed today by certain people in order to harm, or even thwart the implementation of the deer population's cull in Michel-Chartrand park forces us to consider another option."

The city had originally said euthanizing the 15 deer — about half of the park's population — was necessary to preserve vegetation in the area.

In the last week, Longueuil police have arrested three men in connection with threats allegedly issued against the city's mayor. According to police, none of the men live in the Longueuil area.

Parent hopes to have the deer moved within weeks, pending instructions from the ministry on where and how to undertake the relocation.

Earlier this month, Anaïs Gasse, a biologist with the province's forestry, fauna and parks ministry claimed many of the deer would die within days if relocated, due to how difficult it would be to adapt to new surroundings.