By John Shumway

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ROSS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Do not feed the deer.

Ross Township Commissioners have passed an ordinance that bans residents from intentionally feeding deer.

They are right there near the top of the list of Ross Township biggest issues.

“Right after speeding and people not stopping at stop signs,” says Ross Township Commissioner Stephen Korbel.

The new rule went into effect immediately after it was passed Monday night.

They are deer who are eating everything in sight. Linda D’Andrea says her annual bushes never had a chance, “Before they could even bloom they eat the blossoms right off of them.” And the D’Andrea’s went away for a week and came home to find their vegetable garden eaten clean.

Photo: Provided

Thanks to the feeding the deer are surviving year round when normally the harsh conditions of a Western Pennsylvania winter would naturally cull the heard. Korbel says, “It allows the supporting of an unnatural population, too many deer.”

D’Andrea says where once seeing a trio of deer was exceptional, “the other day we counted 30 deer in our yard at one time.”

And Korbel says it’s a public health issue because the whitetale are disease carriers and they’re getting, “A lot more stories about folks contracting Lyme disease.”

It does not apply to naturally growing fruits, vegetables and other plants.

D’Andrea says her neighbor has already indicated she has no plan to stop feeding the animals. Feeding other wildlife is still permitted.

The commissioners may not stop with the feeding ban. A study of the problem across the entire township is on the way and after public input a culling of the herd is possible.

Korbel says, “any option is on the table at this point.”

According to our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, homeowners in violation will be contacted by the township. If they do not remove the prohibited items within 24 hours, they could be fined $25 to $300. The state game commission says Ross Township is far from alone. Many municipalities are enacting similar bans and herd culling with permission from the state is becoming more and more common.