PLAINFIELD, NJ — Organized by the Animal Initiative Committee, a group of concerned residents gathered at the entrance to Cedar Brook Park Sunday to sign a petition and protest a deer hunt that is currently underway in Plainfield.
In 2018, the last time a hunt was conducted at the Cushing Road Retention Basis, hunters took ten deer.
Then, at a council meeting in September 2019, Director of Health and Social Services Shep Brown stated that both Mayor Adrian Mapp and the administration do not support any killing and hunting of deer, and that his department planned to develop a public education and outreach plan for residents to address issues like Lyme disease, and to reduce environmental factors that might attract deer.
But a year later, a 6-1 vote at the council's September 14, 2020, meeting passed in favor of a deer management resolution in the basin.
Then in October 2020 at the Union County Freeholders (now Commissioners) meeting it was noted that Cedar Brook and Green Brook, both county parks in Plainfield, were added to the county's winter bow hunt season.
At today's demonstration, Dawn Tondi, who lives a few blocks away from Cedar Brook Park, said, "I love to walk the park, I love the wildlife here. I was very disheartened to see that they are killing deer in our small park."
"We were startled a few years ago to find out that there was going to be a deer kill at the Cushing Basin. We thought we had changed the mayor and his council's mind, but here they are again," Gloria Binkowski stated. "And we don't need any more violence in Plainfield."
Chelsea Gower called it "absolutely ridiculous" that the city has chosen to conduct the deer hunt again, especially in a park where she walks her dog every day. She called it disgusting, saying the area is just yards from a playground.
She said she has reached out to Mayor Mapp, but has not received a response. "I don't feel like I'm being heard as a citizen in this town."
Diane Pender said she is against the hunt. "I love the deer[s], I love their families, they're part of our families." Another resident said it's a problem if you're in a park and are being instructed, as indicated on the posted signs, to stay only on the paths.
The county deer hunt runs weekdays through February 19th.
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