Local

Katy construction sparks concern about wild animals' safety

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Construction near Katy is causing concern over wildlife pushed out of its habitat and into busy traffic.

Residents say they have seen deer trapped by the construction and some killed as the work continues. We're talking about the area around Park Row Drive and Westgreen Boulevard.

They come out at night to feed but that's about the only thing routine in the lives of a small herd of deer. They're marooned on a shrinking island of trees and brush surrounded on all sides by traffic and increasing development.

People who work in the area have seen them for at least a year.

"So now we've been seeing these five that'll stick their heads out in the mornings. And they're stuck and there's not much for them to eat out there," witness Amy Painter said.

The land has been whittled down from 60 acres to fewer than 10. What had been part of the deers' habitat is being prepared for new construction. That's forced them out during the day onto streets, even the freeway feeder. A doe and fawn were both killed on Park Row recently.

"They got hit by cars over there," witness Tony Stofel said.

Deer are common in some suburban neighborhoods. Living near a freeway is more unusual, at least for those concerned for the animals' safety and their own.

"It is a throughway for folks to get past the I-10 traffic. So the other fear is not only of the animal getting hit, but also a car accident," witness Monica Loera said.

We spoke to a Texas Parks and Wildlife spokesperson by phone and were told the state doesn't relocate deer.

"It's tragic and sad but white tail deer are overpopulated and being pushed out and into traffic by sprawl," the spokesperson said.

Now those trying to save the deer are trying to find someone to relocate them if possible.

"At least trap these animals and get them to another location safe for them," Painter said.

In the meantime, the deer are living on borrowed land, and for now, on borrowed time. It's enough to soften the heart of a hunter.

"Somebody will spook 'em and they run back into the woods," Stofel said.

"You feel sorry for them?" we asked.

"Yeah," he said.

We contacted Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack, who in turn contacted the Texas Parks and Wildlife to see if the county could secure a permit to relocate the deer. We'll keep you posted on what they say.
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katy, local, deborah wrigley
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