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Arrest made in threats to Longueuil mayor over plan to cull deer

Click to play video: 'City council approves Longueuil deer cull' City council approves Longueuil deer cull
A controversial motion to euthanize half the deer population in Michel-Chartrand Park in Longueuil was approved by city council Monday evening. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports. – Nov 18, 2020

Longueuil police (SPAL) arrested a man Tuesday in connection with recent threats against the mayor of Longueuil.

The threats were made after the city announced plans to kill deer in the South Shore’s Michel-Chartrand Park.

The suspect, in his early 20s, has been released. He is not a resident of Longueuil, according to police.

More threats against Mayor Sylvie Parent, also related to the city’s decision to cull the deer population, are being investigated.

“We do have two other cases of threats that are being investigated at this time,” says Jean-Pierre Voutsinos with the SPAL.

The City of Longueuil decided to euthanize the white-tailed deer due to overpopulation in Michel-Chartrand Park. Parent promised that the meat would be distributed to food banks.

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The motion was approved by city council Monday evening.

READ MORE: Longueuil to cull half of the deer population at local park

Municipal officials say the overpopulation threatens the future of the park. They argue action is needed to deal with the overpopulation, to preserve the biodiversity of the park, and to maintain a healthy deer population.

There is also an increased risk of traffic accidents near the park and a heightened risk of Lyme disease transmission, according to authorities.

The City of Longueuil says it has tried to find other solutions with the help of Quebec’s Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks. There are significant drawbacks to relocating deer, such as transferring the problem to another region and increasing the risk of disease by adding animals from another environment, officials say.

Click to play video: 'Protestors gather in Longueuil to demonstrate against the slaughter of deer due to overpopulation' Protestors gather in Longueuil to demonstrate against the slaughter of deer due to overpopulation
Protestors gather in Longueuil to demonstrate against the slaughter of deer due to overpopulation – Nov 14, 2020

Authorities say moving the deer would put added stress on them during capture and transport, which can lead to their death.

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The move has sparked local outrage.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Michel-Chartrand Park in Longueuil on Saturday to oppose the city’s decision.

“I just love it here. They brought us so much happiness and my heart was broken when I found out what the mayor wanted to do,” said protester Koleighna Wilbur. “I think, when there are other options available, why do we have to be so drastic?”

— With files from Global News’ Brittany Henriques and CP

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