Pleasant Grove’s city council adopted an ordinance on Tuesday that prohibits the feeding of wild deer, moose and elk within the city. This is a first step in a plan to reduce the number of urban deer, which goes into effect immediately.
“Over the last several years, we have had an increasing problem with the domestic deer population within the city,” said Tina Petersen, city attorney. “They have been the cause of an uncalculated amount of damage to property, to foliage, trees, shrubs and flowers. Also, we’ve had a problem with them causing a number of automobile accidents within the city, in terms of citizens hitting deer along our roads.”
According to Pleasant Grove Police Chief Mike Roberts, there were 17 deer-related vehicular accidents reported in the city during the last year. There may be others that are not reported to police, he said.
Because of the numerous deer seen and encountered in the neighborhoods of Pleasant Grove, city leaders began discussing a solution months ago. They are now ready to begin the process for the Urban Deer Control Plan, which is aimed at reducing the population of urban deer.
“One of the requirements of that program is that we enact an ordinance making it illegal for people to purposefully feed or bait wild deer, elk or moose,” Petersen said.
There are some exceptions, according to Petersen. The ordinance does not apply to public employees, as long as the feeding of the animals is within the scope of their employment. It also does not apply to owners of deer, elk or moose that have properly been permitted by the city and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
Additionally, if residents have unintended feed, such as vegetation or certain plants, around their homes or properties that animals tend to like, they will not be in violation of the ordinance.
Purposely violating the ordinance is a misdemeanor and can result in a citation. According to Scott Darrington, city administrator, if somebody notices a resident violating the ordinance, the police department’s non-emergency number can be called.
According to Darrington, the next step to implementing the Urban Deer Control Plan will be a presentation by Division of Wildlife Services to the city council. Then, a public hearing will be held so the public has the opportunity to weigh in on the council’s decision of whether or not to implement the program. The dates for these have not yet been set. Whether or not city leaders decide to go forward with the program, the ordinance prohibiting the feeding of these animals will still be on the books.
Information regarding this ordinance will be shared on social media to let the public know.
“We might have a couple of residents that are purposely feeding deer,” Darrington said.