This is a response to West Windsor council candidate Michael Stevens’ letter, “The deer population is out of control,” that appeared in The News’ Sept. 13 issue.

Like many longtime township residents, I have witnessed many changes/council decisions over the years, some worthy of being proud of while others were less than stellar. One change I have yet to witness is how we view and live amongst our fellow creatures as a township.

I agree with Stevens about the growing deer population and appreciate the statistics he compiled. The deer have affected the safety of humans as well as the deer themselves. No doubt the home experience he recounted was unusual, absolutely frightening and costly.

I am genuinely thankful no family member was injured and happy Stevens acknowledged the “frightened deer” during this traumatic event.

Yet, after reading the letter to its proposed end, I believe it was an adjective unauthentically and deceptively applied for the purpose of minimizing the response of animal rights activists.

Stevens’ proposed solution of deer management with organized bow hunting is not in line, in any way, of being empathetic toward any deer. It screams of gross inhumanity and lacks the vision and problem-solving skills where it is long overdue.

Bow hunting is the typical solution for deer management in many townships not willing to do their due diligence to truly research (beyond a few statistics) and to pay a humane price.

Bow hunting is one of the cruelest forms of culling there is. Unless the spear pierces a major vessel or vascular organ, death is slow, gruesome and merciless.

I propose bow hunting, or any form of organized murder is a less than stellar solution for our community, as declaring war is the least stellar answer to the world’s problems. Eradicating the deer any which way will most certainly reduce the incidence of car accidents and deaths due to deer collisions.

However, what higher price do we pay by choosing bow hunting as the solution? How easy it is to let the hunters solve this problem, thinking our hands will remain clean.

We value our children’s education in West Windsor to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars to afford them the best education in the state and nation.

We also live life solving problems and growing and actualizing with what we learn through the process. Where is the problem solving and growth in your proposed solution?

The great Indian chiefs would be mindful of the ripple effects on the next seven generations, something we learn in school but seem to fail to utilize in life. Shouldn’t we be collaborating with the University of Pennsylvania or Cornell’s veterinary professionals to delve further and investigate best practices in other states?

When faced with solving problems or diagnosing, clinicians and medical researchers always pose the question, “What else could it be or could we do more effectively and, in this case, more humanely?”

What kind of community are we a part of that does not want to spare more than a 50 cent bullet or the cost of a high velocity spear to be merciful towards other sentient creatures? Do we no longer reason or have compassion?

Deer immunocontraception works. It is not experimental, rather has been in use for over two decades. It does not cause harm to either the deer or humans who consume them. It does however, cost more than a 50 cent bullet.

We must cost out the drug, the delivery system and cost of training to dart the deer over a period of years. The actual amortized costs just might be more manageable for our township citizens then we are led to believe.

Funding, beyond the township budget (i.e. privatizing the solution) also needs exploration.

The choice is before us. The choice should be in the hands of the township citizens, not the elected few. We can apply a temporary quick fix, incurring countless more dollars and lives in accidents over the years, or fix this problem at its root now and reap the benefits. Let us not be penny wise and pound foolish.

Deborah Rizzo-Wittlin

West Windsor