Judge continues stay against Ogden Dunes deer cull; town may continue anyway
By Christin Nance Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org December 6, 2012 5:54PM
Updated: January 8, 2013 6:24AM
The latest chapter in the fight over a controversial deer cull in Ogden Dunes played out Thursday morning in Michigan City.
Representatives from Ogden Dunes and those opposing a planned deer cull attended a prehearing conference convened by Indiana Department of Natural Resources administrative law judge Stephen Lucas. The special use deer control permit allowed the cull to start Nov. 26, until a petition was filed by 22 residents and the judge stayed the cull until Dec. 11.
Resident Dona Young, who is against the cull, said Lucas scheduled a stay hearing for Dec. 21, when he will determine if the a stay should be in effect until a hearing on the merits of the case. That hearing date has not been scheduled yet.
“We are hoping that the town respects the legal process and refrains from starting the cull until after hearing Judge Lucas’ decision after the stay hearing,” Young wrote in an email.
Town council president Allen Johnson said the judge didn’t have the power to enact another temporary stay, so the cull may start on Dec. 12.
“We fully intend to proceed with the cull,” Johnson said.
The town has three deer stands set up in town — behind the fire department, north of the Street Department, and in Suerenity Park, and they started baiting the deer with apples prior to the stay.
The town held a deer cull in 2011 to prevent the spread of Lyme disease, but they suspended it — after killing 17 deer — due to the costs of a legal challenge.
The hearing didn’t address any claims by the petitioners. Residents who oppose the cull question whether the deer have damaged the town’s ecosystem and claim that the town has violated terms of the permit.