YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Four local residents are joining together to sue the Mill Creek Metro Parks, looking to stop a planned deer harvest later this month.

The suit was filed Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, referring to what the residents call the Park’s “Deer Slaughter Plan.”

Park directors approved a program to grant permits for rifle and bow-and-arrow hunters to help manage the white-tail deer population on park land.

The lawsuit wants a judge to prevent the deer management plan from taking effect. Lawyer and former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann represents four residents with properties near the park.

“While the legislature said that park districts can preserve wildlife, there’s no statutory authority for them to destroy wildlife,” Dann said. “We’re going to have sharpshooters who are theoretically going to be able to work right behind my mother-in-law’s house on Old Furnace Road.”

Similar deer management programs have occurred in the past in other parts of Ohio over the years, but Dann said none of these programs have ever been challenged in court.

Both the cities of Youngstown and Struthers have indicated that deer harvesting will not be allowed in their communities, and Boardman Trustees could soon be sending a letter to park commissioners stating a number of their residents are opposed to it as well.

“We have a lot of people who are against it,” Dann said. “I haven’t heard anybody advocating that the park district take this step.”

First News reached out to park officials for comment, but they said they were unable to provide one since it is a legal matter.

Both sides are expected to appear in court in two weeks.