HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) – Some Hopewell residents are fed up. They say they're seeing an increase in deer on their property and around town.
Residents, like Dottie Shields say deer constantly dine on her daffodils, roses, and shrubs.
"All of these are stripped. The rhododendrons are gone -- they're stripped. I'm really disgusted. One afternoon I caught seven just chomping away. The grass is gone because of their hoofs," said Shields.
Shields isn't alone. Her neighbor, Judy Blevins, is now spending big bucks -- buying repellant and other products in hopes of keeping the animals away.
"I'm spraying religiously now. They ate off all the new growth of my roses in one night," said Blevins.
Some residents say the deer population seems to be growing throughout the city and that the animals are more aggressive.
"They come up to my porch and one of my neighbors had one on her patio eating a flower in a pot," said Blevins.
In response to community concerns Hopewell is teaming up with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to host a forum on the deer population.
"The main issue would be do deer belong in an urban setting. Are there issues that come with that relative to lime disease. Human-deer interactions aren't always positive," said Mark Haley, a city employee who's organizing the forum.
Haley says the city will decide if an urban deer management program is needed and how best to implement it. Right now, there are roughly a million deer in Virginia. Development can displace the animals -- forcing them into neighborhoods. As for Shields and some of her neighbors - they just want the deer gone.
"I'd like to see them all tranquilized and taken to a nice woodsy area where there aren't any homes," said Shields.
One of the most effective ways of keeping deer out of your neighborhood is by not feeding them and encouraging your neighbors to do the same. That public forum is scheduled for Monday, April 19, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. It will be held at the Appomattox Regional Library on Cawson Street in Hopewell.