By BRIAN SMITH
HUDSON OAKS — Residents are being asked to stop feeding deer after the city council passed an ordinance Thursday night banning the activity.
Police Chief Brandon Mayberry, who has spearheaded the nearly two-year effort to get a handle on the increasing number of deer in the city, said residents will first be given a warning before tickets begin being handed out.
City Administrator Patrick Lawler said that for the city to get any future help from Texas Parks and Wildlife concerning the deer, an ordinance banning the feeding must be in place.
“We have never liked the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to ordinances and this (ordinance) is actually pretty lenient, we feel,” Lawler said. “Warnings will be given first.”
Mayberry said the deer are starting to become a public safety issue, causing accidents and a number of property damage reports. Parks and Wildlife officials state that an area is becoming overpopulated when it has between 15 and 25 deer in any given area. Some parts of Hudson Oaks now have about 150.
Mayor Pro Tem Tom Fitzpatrick said on a recent walk he saw two groups of at least 10 deer each within a few houses of each other.
“If we don’t do something now, they are only going to continue to multiply,” Fitzpatrick said.
One resident spoke on amending the ordinance to those who have less than 5 acres. Donna Jett said she enjoys the wildlife, that it is one of the reasons her family moved here in the 1990s.
Mayor Pat Deen said there will still be opportunities to see the animals in the area but the council is looking to do what is in the best interest of everyone in the city.
In other business, council members approved calling a special election to legalize the sale of alcoholic beverages including mixed beverages. City Secretary Shelley Major said that because Parker County itself is dry and Hudson Oaks is wet, an election must be held for any areas annexed into the city to determine if they want to become wet or not.