Longueuil will finally be able to cull up to 100 white-tailed deer in its Michel-Chartrand park after the most recent appeal was rejected in a Quebec court.
In a decision published on Thursday, Court of Appeal Justice Robert Mainville dismissed a request that aimed to cancel the cull, as authorized by the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks in 2022.
The ministry approved a controlled crossbow hunt aimed at thinning a herd that has taken over the partially wooded green space, creating a danger to the public, the flora and the animals themselves as they wreak havoc on their own habitat without any predators controlling their numbers naturally.
Organizations Sauvetage Animal Rescue and the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) teamed up with a Longueuil resident, Florence Meney, to appeal the Superior Court of Quebec's judgment rendered on Aug. 31, which gave the cull the green light by once again dismissing an appeal.
In fact, there have been court battles, protests and even threats to the city's mayor over the last few years.
In 2017, there were 32 deer. Now there are 117 deer living in a space that experts say can accommodate a maximum of 15 deer.
The plaintiffs in this case have denounced the use of crossbows and have pushed for other non-lethal methods, such as relocation or sterilization.
In its decision on Thursday, the Court of Appeal confirms the opinion already expressed by the Superior Court, namely that the applicants have not been able to demonstrate the cull to be unreasonable as it is an approved wildlife management method.
The court also considers that the city is legitimately exercising its legal duty in matters of parks, the environment, nuisances, health and safety.
Finally, the court considers that the issuance of this cull permit is the result of an in-depth analysis that takes into account all possible options.
In a news release, Mayor Catherine Fournier says the cull will be carried out as planned and the exact dates will be announced soon.
Coun. Jonathan Tabarah says in the news release that the court's decision will reassure citizens who are worried about the rapidly deteriorating green space and the road safety issues surrounding the park.