The public-safety commissioner in Cedar Rapids will call a meeting of the “Urban Deer Task Force,” though Dave Zahn says he didn’t have to create the board. It all took place before he came on the council in January 2000, the previous council pulling together citizens with a balance of animal-rights activists, some who were middle-of-the-roar, and some who were hunters or wanted to get rid of the deer. They studied the issue, and created a report he says is “pretty wide-ranging.” Zahn says there’s no question that deer pose a problem in Cedar Rapids as they do just about everywhere else in the state, and he’s constantly dealing with calls from the public including those who don’t want hunters to shoot them. Finally the other day he pulled out the report to see what it was about, and found it full of “all kinds of” ideas, but none recommended shooting the deer. He says ideas ranged widely from reflector lights on roadways, to where shrubbery should be allowed along the roadway, what kind of landscaping plants to permit in town where deer eat gardens, 8-foot fences which wouldn’t be allowed under current city ordinance, and ice-control without using lots of salt, which brings deer to lick it off the roadway. The suggestions had been compiled into a report. Zahn says the deer population seems to be thriving, though early snowmelt canceled a planned animal census last spring and they’ll try again after the first snow falls. The report says the task force should have met every six months to talk about their ideas and whatever came up — but it was not was done. So he will call up the task force, and find new members to replace any who’ve left or no longer want to serve. Then the public-safety commissioner says the urban deer task force will get to work and he intends to use their ideas this time.
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