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Botched ammo and Weeks of protest end Cull in Mt. Lebanon

Mt. Lebanon officials and a contractor scrapped a controversial and ultimately unsuccessful program to kill deer to thin the herd, ending weeks of acrimony in the upscale Pittsburgh suburb — for now.

Fraught with problems from the start — including a botched first night in which the contractor's ammunition proved ineffective — the plan was called off because of vandalism and interference, officials and the contractor said.

Officials decided to halt the program, designed to reduce car-deer accidents, because “we felt it was ineffective at this point,” said J. Merlin Benner, president of Tioga County-based Wildlife Specialists LLC, which oversaw the effort. Benner's company will be paid $3,000 on a deal that could have paid up to $75,000. He estimated he invested more than $30,000 in the project.

Volunteers cleaning after the cull:

The decision was announced Friday on Mt. Lebanon's website. It followed weeks of protests and municipal meetings packed with angry opponents.

“It was a poor plan, and I'm glad to see it end,” Mt. Lebanon Commissioner Kelly Fraasch said. “It was an incredibly inhumane method. This is not anything that we should consider in our community ever a


Even some hunters were opposed to the plan. Read more:

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