Colo. County Culls Deer on Disease Threat
Jan 28, 11:09 AM (ET)
DENVER (AP) - Larimer County will allow state officials to continue killing deer on some public land to battle chronic wasting disease, despite public complaints.
County commissioners voted 3-0 Tuesday to permit the state Division of Wildlife to take deer from four county-owned parcels, even though residents expressed concern the killing was unnecessary.
Wildlife officials believe dense deer herds speed the spread of wasting disease, but some residents say thinning the herds isn't effective.
The also say healthy animals are killed needlessly because the most commonly used test for chronic wasting can be done only on dead animals.
But wildlife officials said the infection rates on Larimer County open space was 22 percent to 58 percent last year, far above the typical rates of 5 to 15 percent.
Commissioners reluctantly agreed to the thinning for fear the disease could spiral out of control. They restricted the places and times that wildlife officers can use guns and will ask the agency to trap and euthanize the deer or to test on live animals in one area.
"It's more restrictive than what we've been allowed to do in the past," said Fred Quartarone," the Division of Wildlife's coordinator for chronic wasting in northeastern Colorado.
"We're going to try to work with (the county)," he said.
Chronic wasting, similar to mad cow disease, kills deer and elk by eating holes in their brains.