YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The effort to save the Mill Creek MetroParks deer from being hunted very well may end up in court after a Wednesday meeting consisting of those opposed to the culling announced they have what’s needed to move forward with a lawsuit.

Boardman resident Lisa Lieux, whose backyard is Mill Creek MetroParks, was the first to sign up to be part of a lawsuit expected to be filed to stop the deer hunt in the metropark.

“If somebody shoots in that park and it were to kill one of my dogs or injure any of us,” Lieux said, “there’s going to be trouble.”

Lieux was one of 75 people who filled the meeting room at Youngstown’s Newport Library to hear the details of the lawsuit.

“We have the money, thanks to those of you who donated and those of you who beat the path for funds. We have the money,” said organizer Chuck Johnson.

“We do have some tools in the toolkit to move forward and file a lawsuit,” said attorney Jeff Crossman

Crossman is part of Marc Dann’s Cleveland-based law firm, which is handling the lawsuit. Crossman said people living adjacent to the park have legal standing to bring a lawsuit based on safety concerns.

“Deer that are being culled, that are being hunted, are going to be run through your yards, they’re going to be damaging your yards,” Crossman said. “Unfortunately, you might have carcasses in your yards.”

Crossman also said, under Ohio state law, he does not think the board of commissioners of Mill Creek MetroParks has the right to order a hunt. He said only the Ohio Department of Natural Resources can order such a hunt.

“The park district’s only allowed to exercise the authority that the legislature gives it,” Crossman said. “If it didn’t give them the authority to hunt that would be the argument.”

Youngstown law director Jeff Limbian said park officials have verbally agreed not to hunt adjacent to the city limits — but he’s yet to receive anything in writing.

As for Lieux: She’s ready for court.

Lieux: “At some point in time, somebody has to take responsibility.”
First News reporter Stan Boney: “And now’s the time?”
Lieux: “Now’s the time.”

It was also announced at the meeting that petitions are in circulation to recall the metropark’s executive director Aaron Young — and at least one of the current board members — though they wouldn’t say which one. There will be a tent this weekend at the Italian Fest where people can sign the petitions.