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Jun 16, 2015 4:48 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Several Deer From Experimental Sterilization Program Die After Miscarriages

Jun 16, 2015 5:08 PM

Several female deer that had been surgically spayed in an experimental program in East Hampton Village this winter have died in recent weeks after having miscarriages or bearing still-born fawns.

At least four of the sterilized female deer, clearly identifiable by the white plastic tags implanted on their ears, have died in the last three weeks, and the body of another apparently still-born fawn was found on the Maidstone Club golf course grounds.

Whether the deaths of the deer are directly linked to the sterilization program has not been determined with certainty. But some critics have said the frequency of the reports, and the gruesome parallels in some of the instances, point a damning finger at the sterilization technique called the Spay-A-Doe program.

“I absolutely feel … that the sterilization is not being done properly and is responsible for these horrible deaths,” said Dell Cullum, a wildlife photographer and naturalist. “They’re claiming that the sterilization has nothing to do with these deer that are dying and septic and rotting from the inside out.”

Mr. Cullum, who lives in East Hampton, said he personally observed two of the dead deer, one of which had started to give birth to a still-born fawn.

Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons President Jim Hunter confirmed that the center had seen at least two dead deer with sterilization tags on their ears.

Village employees have found two dead deer, one adult on Buell Lane, bearing the sterilization tags, and a still-born fawn on the Maidstone Club property.

State Department of Environmental Conservation scientists are conducting a necropsy of at least one of the dead animals found recently within the village, and results from the examination are expected soon.

“From our perspective, we don’t have enough data to determine whether there is a connection with [the sterilization],” said Anthony DeNicola, owner of White Buffalo, the company that conducted the sterilizations last winter.

East Hampton Village and the East Hampton Village Preservation Society paid White Buffalo about $100,000 to conduct the sterilization program. The village kicked in about $30,000.

Mr. DeNicola said that the group tranquilized and surgically sterilized 115 does in December and January and hopes to sterilize more in the fall.

But, Mr. Cullum said, some of those deer may have already been pregnant at the time of the surgery, and had embryos growing in their bodies. In those cases, the sterilization procedure may have led to developmental problems that resulted in the deaths of the unborn fawns, which caused the fatal health problems with the mothers.

Village Mayor Paul Rickenbach said that village officials have been bothered by the reports of the suffering by the deer, but he said officials are not backing out of completing the second round of the sterilization program.

“It’s an unfortunate series of events and something we didn’t forecast when we went into this exercise,” Mr. Rickenbach said this week. “But the village is committed to the program for another year.

“We’re thinking this is just a bad period, and we’re hopeful that in the end we’ll see the results we’re looking for.”

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This is INHUMANE torture to these animals. White Buffalo should be FIRED IMMEDIATELY
By GregBall (19), Costa Mesa, California on Jun 16, 15 5:22 PM
2 members liked this comment
Mayor Rickenback and village officials are "bothered " by this atrocity, but are committed for another year ! Not only should White Buffalo be fired and investigated, but you, Mr. Mayor, and your staff of morons should be thrown out of office.
By wmdwjr (76), east hampton on Jun 16, 15 6:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
I would be interested in hearing how they reconcile being bothered by causing deaths but doubling down on causing more.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Jun 17, 15 7:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
"Some of the Deer may have already been pregnant at the time of the surgery,and had embryos growing in their bodies"...........pretty safe bet to say the majority of the deer that were sterilized were in fact pregnant.

"We're thinking this is just a bad period,and we're hopeful that in the end we'll see the results we're looking for" ??? A bad period?

Perhaps all that money would be better spent on the starving children in the world........wherever the latest starving ...more
By Walter Sobchak (22), Water Mill on Jun 16, 15 6:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
These are the same morons that parade around as animal activists. A bunch of phony bs artists, who could care less about suffering of any animal or human
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 16, 15 7:13 PM
I was under the impression deer were being spayed, not guinea pigs...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 16, 15 9:21 PM
just leave the poor things alone already
By Erin 27 E (1281), hampton bays on Jun 16, 15 9:33 PM
The sterilization program by White Buffalo in EHV is doing exactly what Mayor Rickenback and the trustees want, it's getting rid of nuisance deer, while appeasing the anti-hunting crowd. EHV needs to re-evaluate their plan.
By Michael Tessitore (76), East Quogue, New York on Jun 16, 15 10:13 PM
Perhaps we could postpone judgment until a determination has been made as to whether the sterilization program had anything to do with this phenomenon. (How many does die naturally, sterilized or unsterilized? Has the number of other, unsterilized dead does been tallied as well?)

This program is an effort to alleviate the deer overpopulation problem by a means other than killing. If the most serious allegations prove true, of course, it must be stopped. However, since the alternative ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Jun 17, 15 7:50 AM
3 members liked this comment
I am disgusted that this is acceptable this day and age.. I will sign any petition to stop this horrible offense.
By SELENE (1), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 15 10:38 AM
1 member liked this comment
Spaying has worked effectively in other areas. Too many deer get hit, but not lethally. A deer with a crippled hip limps on three legs across my property. Its ribs are showing now. Several years ago one was around with a badly mangled hind leg. Part had been torn off, the rest hung uselessly from some skin and fell off later. Give this program a chance.
By Crabby (63), Southampton on Jun 17, 15 11:16 AM
please contact the wildlife center when you see wildlife in distress, rather than writing about them-
By wmdwjr (76), east hampton on Jun 17, 15 2:00 PM
I have brought many a bird and animal to wildlife centers. Deer, unless they can't move, don't stick around an area for long. Even three legged ones. They need to stay put long enough for assistance to arrive, or be locate-able to be helped. No one could catch the mangled leg deer. Months later a hunter put it out of its misery.
By Crabby (63), Southampton on Jun 17, 15 5:28 PM
By wmdwjr (76), east hampton on Jun 17, 15 5:46 PM
Should have just done the hunting/cull; same results, less money.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Jun 17, 15 2:09 PM
There was never a deer problem years ago. The overbuilding going on right now is the major cause. Maybe we should also sterilize humans we think are stupid.
By rvs (106), sag harbor on Jun 17, 15 11:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 18, 15 7:57 PM
Hubris is an ugly stench.

Truth be told, most of the time it's those guilty of it who are not harmed...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 19, 15 9:22 PM
How is sterilizing female deer (in December without first doing a pregnancy check) in any way an effective population control measure? Castrating bucks could work, why is that not being done?
By InnerBay (72), Southampton on Jun 21, 15 3:05 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By lucy and not afraid, seven hills on Jun 21, 15 4:22 PM
Open the bow hunting season year round.
By bird (829), Southampton on Jun 21, 15 4:48 PM