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North Idaho City Considers Contraceptives For Deer

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There's a birth control problem in northern Idaho, but it's not lack of access for people—it's deer.

The Kootenai County city of Dalton Gardens in December 2014 passed an ordinance banning the public feeding of deer. The measure came in the wake of what city officials said was an ever-growing deer population. The ordinance calls for a $100 fine to anyone caught feeding deer within city limits. The city also signed a contract with a trapper who was asked to capture as many as 25 deer last winter and move them from the city to a wildlife management area. As many as 10 deer were ultimately relocated.

In September, the Coeur d'Alene Press reported Dalton Gardens residents were divided on the issue, with some considering the animals a nuisance and some arguing they loved that the deer live among the city's homes.

KREM-TV reports a year after the ordinance, the city hasn't fined anyone for feeding the deer and the city's mayor-elect says it's time to try something new—contraception. KREM-TV reports that in 2016, Dalton Gardens officials will consider a vaccine that would sterilize the deer for two years.

It wouldn't be the first time elected officials from Dalton Gardens legislated in the area of reproduction. The city is home to Idaho House Rep. Vito Barbieri, who famously asked a physician during a February House committee hearing if doctors could perform gynecological exams remotely by having patients swallow tiny cameras. The question stunned the physician, and much of the nation, when Barbieri's comments were repeated in media outlets across the country. Soon thereafter, Barbieri joined much of his Republican brethren to require in-person physician care to administer RU-486—the so-called "chemical abortion" drug—to Idaho women.