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Mayor to seek DEC's OK to thin out deer

Even a former steel town can provide plenty of pasture for hungry deer.

Lackawanna is the latest municipality to be overrun by deer -- so much so that Mayor Norman L. Polanski plans to seek approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to thin out the city's deer population.

"We've had numerous deer hit on Martin Road. We've had complaints about shrubs being eaten," Polanski said. "It's gotten out of hand. They've become a nuisance. It's a serious problem."

So far, the mayor has received no opposition from the City Council, which on Monday unanimously approved a resolution supporting his overture to the DEC.

"Everybody's got a ton of 'em," said City Council President Chuck Jaworski.

Second Ward Councilman Geoffrey Szymanski noted that he recently saw a couple of deer prancing together like young lovers in the middle of the street.

"Did they have a permit?" 4th Ward Councilman Joseph Schiavi asked.

"They didn't have a permit to eat my tomato plants, I'll tell you that," Szymanski responded.

DEC officers recently did a flyover of Lackawanna and determined the bulk of the deer are in the southwest corner of the city, around Abbott and Martin roads, Polanski said.

He said the city will examine how bait-and-shoot programs have worked in Amherst and Cheektowaga.

In an effort to reduce the number of deer-related car accidents in Amherst, police snipers killed about 1,450 deer between 2005 and 2010. The meat was given to the Western New York Food Bank.

In other action, the Council adopted a resolution opposing the planned closing of the city's lone post office, on Ridge Road.

Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, has vowed to fight the closure, sending a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General stating that the Lackawanna site "serves a unique population highly dependent on the facility's close proximity to surrounding neighborhoods."

"There are a number of characteristics that justify the need for a post office directly in the city, and we plan to fight for its continued existence based on those facts," Higgins said.