WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) - Animal lovers say the deer are dying on a spiked wrought iron fence that rings a Williamsville cemetery. But the fence remains because of its historical character.
There were some tense moments at a Williamsville Historic Preservation Commission work session.
A commission member said, "All right, this is a work session. You do not have the floor. And if you continue to speak, you're going to have to leave."
Some residents came looking for answers, concerned about deer getting caught on the sharp spiked fence surrounding the Williamsville Cemetery.
Mark Beatty said, "I hate that fence."
Beatty says he's seen a lot of deer jump the fence, and never make it over. He says it's very disturbing.
"Yes, it is, because they're still alive. Their back legs are hanging. They're going right through the spikes," said Beatty.
Morgan Dunbar of Animal Allies of Western New York believes there are ways to make the fence safer, and still maintain the historic integrity.
"We have very clear ideas of how to fix this fence, including nice scalloping. Nice very aesthetically pleasing scalloping," said Dunbar.
But not everyone wants change. Resident Eric Mustard says he likes the old fence just the way it is.
"It's a hundred years old. It's been good up until now. Why change it? If anything, it changes the character of the town," said Mustard.
Williamsville Mayor Mary Lowther says she recently received about 40 e-mails on the subject.
"I certainly don't want to see deer or children or anyone be harmed on a fence. I think that's wrong," said Mayor Lowther.
Wes Stone of the preservation commission believes there are legitimate wildlife concerns that warrant a closer look.
Stone said, "We don't want to wreck the look of it. But we do need to look out for the wildlife that's around."
In response, cemetery officials say they're willing to explore options to protect wildlife, but say they must comply with directives issued by the village. In 2006, the preservation commission rejected a proposal to cap the fence despite the approval of funds by the cemetery's trustees.
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