Too many deer and dogs in BE
For the third meeting in a row, the Blue Earth City Council discussed what the problem of having too many deer roaming around the city.
This time, they not only debated what to do about the deer, but they added another animal species to the mix dogs. Specifically the issue of dogs not being kept on a leash, not being licensed by their owners, and possible attacks on walkers and joggers.
First the deer issue.
City administrator Tim Ibisch reported that he and three city council members had met with officials from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) the week before.
“They had suggestions that dealt with a ban on feeding deer and having a special deer hunt on city property,” Ibisch reported. “Some cities, like New Ulm and Albert Lea, do have special deer hunts, with bow and arrows, not firearms.”
City council member Glenn Gaylord said he was disappointed with the DNR representatives at the meeting.
“They said escaping the coyotes is not the reason the deer come into town,” Gaylord said. “That is just not true. And I am disappointed they would not allow more doe permits in this area to help limit the deer numbers.”
And, the DNR was not interested in doing anything about the coyote population, Gaylord said. He passed around a photo of a torn apart deer carcass that was in the middle of Riverside Cemetery.
Councilman John Huisman was in favor of a special city deer hunt, just like the one in New Ulm.
“They have one every year,” Huisman said. “And it is effective. The city runs it and says how it is done, and there is minimal cost involved.”
In the end the council did not decide what exactly to do, but instructed the city administrator to further investigate how the city operated deer hunt would work.
If the city wants to have such a hunt this fall, a formal plan would have to be presented to the DNR by May 4.
It was during the work session before the regular meeting that councilman Gaylord brought up the problems involving dogs in the city.
“There have been animal control complaints,” Gaylord said. “It should be simple. Be responsible for your dog.”
He added there are three things for dog owners to do. One is to register the dog at City Hall. Two is to pick up after your dog. And three is to keep it under control with a leash and not let it run out from yards and chase people.
Blue Earth police chief Tom Fletcher was at the meeting and agreed with Gaylord.
“If you have a problem with a dog, call us at the police station or call the county dispatcher to get hold of us,” Fletcher said. “And I also want to remind people to register their dog at City Hall. It is only $5, but it is a $50 fine if we pick up an unlicensed dog. That is a no-brainer, I think.”
Fletcher explained that if a dog is picked up and taken to the animal shelter, there is a progressive fine for each time it is picked up, from $50 to $100, to $150, etc.
Some of the council members thought the fine for a dog running loose should also be a progressive fine.
And mayor Rick Scholtes suggested the police fine dog owners the first time an unlicensed dog is picked up.
The council ended the dog discussion by talking about two proposals that are being worked on for dog parks to be constructed in the city.