Deer-Killing Lawsuit to Return to Court

PETA Lawyer to Argue in Resident’s Appeal of Case Against Montgomery County’s Cruel Taxpayer-Funded Bowhunting Program

For Immediate Release:
October 4, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Annapolis, Md.

Bethesda resident Eilene Cohhn will return to court on Thursday, when the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland will hear oral arguments in her lawsuit, which is aimed at stopping a taxpayer-funded program that allows hunters to use high-powered crossbows and vertical bows to injure and kill deer in parks in Montgomery County.

Where:    Maryland Court of Special Appeals, Courtroom 2, 361 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis

When:    Thursday, October 5, 9 a.m.

In August 2016, the Circuit Court for Montgomery County found that bowhunting—which has a county-anticipated injury rate as high as 17 percent—is not the “most humane method reasonably available” to reduce deer populations in these parks, as required by the plain language of the Maryland cruelty-to-animals code, because police sharpshooters have reduced deer populations in other Maryland parks for at least 20 years with an error rate of less than 1 percent. Since Maryland’s code prohibits causing animals unnecessary suffering and exempts hunting only if the most humane method reasonably available is used, Cohhn’s attorneys will ask the court to set aside the lower court’s ruling that the bowhunting program did not violate the state’s cruelty code.

“Tearing open animals’ flesh with steel arrows and sentencing them to die slowly and painfully is egregiously cruel,” says general counsel to PETA Jeff Kerr. “PETA’s message is that the only proven effective way to manage deer populations is to reduce the availability of food, whereas bowhunters shoot mother deer and their fawns only to see the population rebound.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—notes that in the first year of the hunt, more than 7 percent of the deer who were shot were left to die overnight or their bodies were never found. The death toll included a dozen fawns and three nursing mothers, as well as a deer who was shot by two different hunters two weeks apart.

Cohhn is represented by in-house counsel from the PETA Foundation as well as the law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP.

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