Parks officials corralled two deer off of a construction site in Coney Island last weekend. One managed to escape, but the other was sedated and re-released on Staten Island, reminding this reporter of the time she and her dad captured a squirrel from the attic and drove it one town over to Winchester, releasing it gleefully into a park likely frequented by youth soccer league rivals.
Both deer are believed to have been Staten Island natives.
Forgotten Borough President James Oddo sent an angry letter to Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and the head of Animal Care Centers of NYC when he heard about the incident. "This is unacceptable," he wrote. "We already have an exploding deer population approaching crisis proportions, and to release more deer into this overcrowded herd is unconscionable."
The Advance reports that a 2014 aerial survey of the borough found 762 deer on Staten Island. According to CBS, that comes out to about 42 deer per square mile. As recently as 2008, there were only 24 deer on the whole island.
For Oddo, dumping even one additional deer is heavily symbolic. "There was a time when Staten Island was the dumping ground for every ounce of garbage generated by the city of New York,” he wrote. "Staten Island is a dumping ground no longer."
And in case you didn't get how seriously insulting this is, Oddo declared: "Whether it is one deer or one thousand, whether it is one ounce of garbage or one hundred tons, we refuse to be the solution for another borough's problems." Jesus, fine. Our office is in Brooklyn, we'll take the damn deer.
Granted, it doesn't help that the city has yet to install deer-crossing signs at intersections that, many Staten Island residents have pointed out, have been the site of deer-related crashes. For example, last year DNAInfo reported that Hylan Boulevard near Mount Loretto had seen three crashes involving deer in as many months.
"The movement of this deer was a one-time occurrence due to the lack of appropriate parkland in Brooklyn and the need for a humane response," a Parks spokesperson said in a statement.