June 2014 Council at it again - now Mayor joins in...

New Deer Hunting Legislation DROPS all safety standards; Will new law be Ohio's most liberal hunting law? 

Councilman John Shondel announced new deer legislation that eliminates all safety standards. Hunting would be allowed 365 days of the year throughout the city - including residential neighborhoods. Bow-hunting, acknowledged by both the Mayor and Councilman Larry Meiners, a former hunter, to be cruel, ineffective ways to kill deer is back on the table.

Incredibly,Shondel has stated at not just one but two council meetings the reason the new legislation is needed is that the existing legislation is ineffective because the safety requirements ruled out too much property from hunting.

GONE - "no hunt" zones around schools, day cares and churches
GONE - setbacks that keep hunters away from houses, streets, bike paths
GONE- minimum acreage to ensure hunters are not hunting close to families, children at play and pets
GONE- requirement to hunt from a tree stand so errant arrows fire into the ground. Remember Jennifer Fenderbosch saying arrows travel 1,000 feet. With nor acreage or setback requirements and no requirement for treestands, where will these arrows end up?

MISSING - required, written notification to owners of contiguous properties
MISSING - opportunity for those homeowners to object to hunting and stop it

And, when something foes wrong - as it surely will in our highly developed city - who will be to blame? not council or the mayor r the city! They claim they are indemnified
Not ODNR - who after saying two years ago they were removing themselves from AL's program - they are all in - as long as they are indemnified.

So who pays when there is an accident? hunters? well according to ODNR they have some kind of weird immunity too - a law that allows them to call hunting "recreation" in order to give them a pass on liability.

Apparently, per ODNR, it will be the homeowners who are angry about the deer eating their landscaping. ODNR made it clear they will not issue permits if someone is involved in a deer vehicle collision, or if a deer comes through a window. 

The legislation can be viewed on the city's website -   go to council, then council agendas. view the agenda from June 23, but you will need to scroll down , way down to nearly the end of the document to find it...

Meanwhile if you are unhappy about this latest turn of events, let the mayor and council know. Their home phone numbers and emails follow. Don't be duped when they say there are safety standards in the ordinance. Read the ordinance for yourselves. There are not.

Keep in mind, too, that every other community our size (a city) has specific safety standards in their legislation. Watch for a chart on this soon. It was laughable to see ODNR compare Avon Lake to Glenwillow which they say has loose safety regulations. Glenwillow has a population of 923 to our 22,581 In other words, they have 354 people per square mile compared to our 2,029 per sqare mile.... If that is what ODNR considers an apples to apples comparison, well, that is ODNR being ODNR.

Mayor Greg Zilka            Ph(440) 930-4100                                   at large Martin ODonnell   Ph: 440-933-7310 

at large Dan Bucci           Ph: 440-930-4185                                    at large John Shondel         Ph:  440-930-6838

Ward 1 Rob James           Ph: 440-653-9349                                    Ward 2Jennifer Fenderbosch  Ph: 440-933-4644

Ward 3Larry Meiners    Ph: 440-933-6629                                Ward 4 David Kos                Ph: 440-930-7737  

February 2014

Some on Council continue to pursue dangerous bow hunting in densely populated neighborhoods if deer eat flowers

from page A4 of the Plain Dealer edition for Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, titled Avon Lake considers deer killing

August 31, 2013

Survey Underway to Help Mayor Understand Avon Lake Residents' Concerns About Deer

Please make sure you complete and submit the survey. Each household may submit two surveys.

Paper surveys are available at City Hall or the Library.

Here is the link to the survey as it appeared in the City's Rec Dept. newsletter:

Plain Dealer also asking about killing deer in AL

See this link to an online article that appeared in the Plain Dealer on Aug. 30. They ask whether deer should be killed in AL. Please take this survey, too!

Gardening with Bambi...strategies that work!

...up to $300,000 in value...

High Tech Equipment to Reduce Deer Vehicle Accidents Should Be Installed NOW


...from July 2013


Ward 2 Councilperson Jennifer Fenderbosch declared there were 275 deer in Avon Lake in November of 2011 - yes, 2011, that is not a typo. Within months the number had swelled to 300. By last fall, Council at large appointee John Shondel pronounced there were 400 or more deer in Avon Lake.

Late this winter (about 4 months ago), the city hired a company to do a complete flyover of the city. The count, taken by an AL police officer, who happens to be a hunter, was 153


A widely-supported plan to administer a multi-year birth control shot to does is now at risk, according to Mayor Greg Zilka. Dr. Allen Rutberg from Tufts University and colleagues from the Humane Society of the United States visited Avon Lake last year to determine whether the city might be appropriate for such a study. Rutberg and colleagues were clear that culling could impact the city's chances for consideration. This was told to multiple persons and placed in writing by the Humane Society. Yet Jennifer Fenderbosch repeatedly stated that she was told hunting could occur. Apparently, she got the facts "confused." 

The Mayor has requested that Tufts prepare and submit a proposal that he can take to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.


Seven Deer-vehicle accidents were reported to Avon Lake police from January through the end of June, continuing a significant trend downward.

Police believe the continuing community discussion about deer and newspaper reports help keep the public more alert and careful while driving. Deer vehicle accidents represent a tiny percentage of all car  accidents reported to police in a year. Police report there has never been an accident involving a deer and car in Avon Lake where any injury occurred to humans. They say that given the speed limits in the city, and police experience in accident investigation, that an injury-related accident is highly unlikely. 


No map, no vote!

5th map "not possible" 

HUGE confusion persists over the legislation and areas where hunting (sharpshooting or bow hunting) will be allowed

Council's ordinance, as proposed:
  • Allows sharpshooting on city property, including city parks.  Mayor Zilka says he would only consider sharpshooting at Weiss Field, Walker Rd Park and behind the city service garage on 83. What happens when he is no longer mayor? The language of the ordinance would allow for the use sharpshooters on any city property. 
  • Allows bow hunting at the request of a property owner on any 5-acres parcel in the city. According to staff at city hall, there are 59 parcels in the city that would qualify.
  • Expands bow hunting to owners of up to 3 parcels that could equal 5 acres. This brings bowhunting closer to the homes of many residents! No one on council seems to know how many additional parcels this creates for bow hunting, which we all know is viciously inhumane to deer and unsafe for us!
  • Allows certain property owners to bring bow hunters onto their property 365 days a year if they can show ODNR that the deer caused damage, ie ate their stuff! Specifically cited was "the golf course." How many residents with little children live near a golf course in this town?

View the latest proposed legislation at

Council "unable" to produce a map where they will allow hunting:

On Dec. 3, The Greg Zilka Administration revealed a map where he will consider hunting/culling while he is in office. It eliminates city parks north of Walker, as well as areas near schools, day cares and churches. It also vastly reduces parcels eligible for bow hunting. However, this map DOES NOT reflect the language proposed by Council! 

Clarification was requested and the Mayor (not Council!) promised on Dec. 10 to produce such a map. (see media coverage section for details). On January 4, 2013, the Mayor re-sent his map and two examples of why the requested map cannot be created. 

Even City Hall Staff are confused and providing inaccurate information in public meetings!

Joe Rietz produce several examples of where bow hunting could occur. One such example, sent by the Mayor, then demonstrated at a Council meeting on Jan. 7, 2013, showed
seven (7) combined parcels! The proposed legislation specifically states that owners of up to three (3) parcels can combine to equal five acres.  

3, not 4, not 5 and not 7 as demonstrated by Rietz. Councilman Rob James, sponsor of the hunting legislation re-stated his intentions as outlined in the legislation -
3 parcels. period. So how many residents will put at risk because those who will implement the plan to hunt do not understand the legislation and thusly could allow hunting outside of the intended areas - closer to our homes, kids and pets!

No map, No Vote!

How can Council allow such irresponsible, dangerous legislation to pass when they clearly do not get the implications!

Write and phone members of council to let them know your concerns about the dangers of hunting 
in a densely populated, traditionally non-hunting community like Avon Lake!

         Dan Bucci -       440-930-4185      (at large)                           Rob James -     440-653-9349   (Ward 1)

         Martin O'Donnell -    440-933-7310   (at large)                 John Shondel -    440-930-6838 (at large)

         and a special shout out for the person who brought this horror to Avon Lake -     Jennifer Fenderbosch  -     440-933-4644  (Ward 2)

        David Kos -                                                                            Larry Meiners -

NOTE: Meiners and Kos are on record opposing bow hunting in residential neighborhoods!

                                                        Deer FACTS by the numbers - Council's plan does NOT add up!

Population per square mile data - look at our city compared to others that hunt! We are THE most densely populated !!
How can hunting/culling so close to so many homes ever be safe?


2010 Population

Square miles

Population/sq mile





Avon Lake
























North Ridgeville












Deer density statistics
Avon Lake has far fewer deer than other cities that hunt. Unbelievably, ODNR has been telling the pro-hunting faction of council that we should have only 40-50 deer in the entire city - that is 4 deer/sq mile. We can find NO OTHER DNR IN THE UNITED STATES that supports this ridiculous density number and that would lead to the wholesale SLAUGHTER of this community's deer herd!


Square miles

Estimated herd size*

Deer density/sq mi

Avon Lake



22/sq mi




33/sq mi




50/sq mi

*Source: Avon Lake – Jennifer Fenderbosch’s spotlight survey

                 Mentor – City Manager as quoted in Mentor Patch – based on partial aerial survey of city

                 Solon – city website  

Solon CALLED OFF HUNTING in 2010 and 2011 – deer density those years was 33/sq mi & 35/sq mi, respectively   (source:  Solon city website)


Deer vehicle accidents in Avon Lake during 2012 were DOWN! This is important because ODNR tells communities to use this data to determine whether a community has a "deer problem." We will further reduce DVAs when the city moves forward to install equipment to warn drivers of deer near designated roads. 

Council President O'Donnell's assertion that culling will reduce DVAs is built on a false premise! National and Ohio Statistics show that injury and death from a DVA occur at high rates of speed  - 50 mph or higher (Avon Lake's max speed is 35 mph)!  Most victims are not wearing seatbelts! 

By comparison, Avon Lake police arrest 2-3x more drunk drivers! Why isn't council doing something about this?

Council's latest proposed legislation  will allow hunting in some form 365 days of the year. 
That will certainly INCREASE the risk of MORE accidents as frightened, injured deer run into the street and through yards where children play.

Send us your comments!  Send an email to:

Sign the "No Hunting" Petition NOW

Click HERE to sign the online petition opposing hunting in our neighborhoods!.

Rob Slater,
Oct 13, 2009, 7:10 AM
Mar 23, 2010, 12:11 PM