Cemetery fence made safer for deer
November 8, 2006
In the aftermath of a tragedy in which two deer were euthanized after becoming stuck in the Glenwood Cemetery fence, the Three Kings condominium homeowners and Silver Star developers removed bars from the fence in an effort to make it safer for wildlife.
In the almost two weeks since the deer were put down, crews have removed some of the bars of the cemetery fence, creating openings for animals. Bill Brown, a member of the Glenwood Cemetery Association board of trustees, says eight openings were created throughout the perimeter of the fence. The openings are about three feet wide. The space between the rest of the bars, which trapped the deer is 5 1/2 inches.
Meanwhile, 350 feet of mesh was installed on the fence to discourage animals from trying to squeeze through. Brown says the mesh was installed on the fence on the north and east side of the cemetery.
"They can’t go sticking their head into the fence. They won’t be able to get their head caught," says Dick Weber, the president of the Three Kings homeowners association.
Weber says that he does not expect that another deer will become lodged in the fence. The solution, he says, is failsafe. He says that the work cost about $1,000 and the Silver Star developers and the homeowners are splitting the cost.
Hal Compton, the president of the Glenwood association, says that the cemetery’s keepers will monitor the effectiveness of the openings and the fabric. He says the idea is a smart temporary solution.
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"We’ll have to decide if that’s going to do the job," Compton says.
On Oct. 25, wildlife officials shot and killed two fawns, both bucks, after they became trapped between the bars. They were the second and third euthanized in October after becoming stuck in the fence, about 100 feet away from the first deer. The two on Oct. 25 were outside trying to get into the cemetery, which is on the western edge of Thaynes Canyon.
Afterward there were pledges to make the fence safer.
The incidents were a surprise and Compton said this week that the there had not been similar problems before.
"It was kind of a sad sight, that poor deer dying," says Compton, who was watching as the two deer were put down on Oct. 25. "We’ve never had a tragedy like that before but we don’t want a repeat performance."
The animals were mule deer, which are plentiful in the region. Wildlife officials said at the time that the deer may have been trying to follow their mothers. The mothers, they said, might have been able to leap over the fence but the fawns could not. They then may have tried to squeeze through but became stuck at their midsection.
Rory Murphy, the Silver Star developer, says he could not speculate whether the deer went to the cemetery to avoid the Silver Star site. The fence where they became lodged is nearby Silver Star’s property.
"We treated it as a neighborhood and community concern and reacted accordingly," he says, adding, "I just felt the sense of neighborhood obligation."
Weber says the team went to the cemetery looking for animal tracks. Once they found the tracks, the team decided where to make the openings in the fence.
"Animals shouldn’t suffer like that, especially little ones," he says.