Central New York, Community, Environment, Government, Health, Public Safety, Syracuse

Syracuse Neighbors Worry About Deer Carrying Lyme Disease

Citizens meet to discuss a deer management proposal.

By Calvin Dudley SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)The surge in deer population has led to some residents in the Syracuse area wanting to adopt a management plan. The neighbors say the deer not only are annoying, but also have them worried about Lyme disease.

“The city of Syracuse definitely has a deer problem. Right now the city is supporting these different neighborhood groups put together the plan. It’s a public health issue. It’s a crisis,” said Pamela Hunter, New York State Assembly member.

On Tuesday night, around 100 people attended a community meeting where a deer-management proposal was discussed. Fewer than 10 people who attended opposed killing the deer as a way to control the overpopulation.

“This has probably been the number one quality of life issue affecting the residents in the community. Most people are concerned about Lyme disease,” said Hunter.

Lyme disease is carried by ticks, which then attach themselves to deer. The ticks can be left behind when the deer are in people’s yards. People who come in contact with the ticks can then contract the disease.Emily Lawson Hatch, mother of two children, is also anxious.

“It’s a major concern for us. I shouldn’t have to worry about my kids playing outside. I still have to check them for ticks every single day,” she said.

Experts have told Hatch to have her kids wear pants and long sleeves, but she says that is not a realistic option. Like many of the other people at the meeting, she supports the management plan because she says she feels trapped.

“We get our yard sprayed with chemicals and I feel like I have to do that because we haven’t done anything with the deer at this point. I’m backed into a corner,” Hatch said.