Eilene Cohhn, who lost a court case against Montgomery County’s use of bow hunting to cull the local deer population, has filed the opening brief in her appeal, according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), whose in-house counsel is supporting the case.
The brief was filed in the Court of Special Appeals in Annapolis, the state’s second highest court. Cohhn, a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), had sued in September 2015 in Montgomery County Circuit Court charging that the county’s “Pilot Archery Managed Deer Hunting Program” violated Maryland’s cruelty code. In August, she lost her case.
Cohhn, a Bethesda resident, is also being represented by the public-interest law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP, based in Washington, D.C.
Melissa Chotiner, spokeswoman for Montgomery Parks, had no comment on the filing of the appeal.
Under the county’s archery program, hunters use bows and crossbows to kill deer in Montgomery County parks because of regulations prohibiting the discharging of firearms at Watts Branch Stream Valley Park in Potomac and Great Seneca Stream Valley Park in Germantown.
The archery season for deer in Montgomery County started Sept. 9 and will end Tuesday.
The suit aims to stop the Pilot Archery Managed Deer Hunting Program, which allows hunters to use high-powered crossbows and other bows to kill deer in parks in the county, a PETA statement said.
Cohhn’s case hinges on the accuracy of bowhunters versus sharpshooters. She alleges that expert sharpshooters have an error rate of less than 1 percent and the crossbow hunters have an error rate of at least 7 percent.
The difference, the PETA statement said, means bow hunting is not the most humane method available to kill deer.
The Circuit Court did not disagree with the allegations, but it also found that killing deer with crossbows did not constitute cruelty, PETA said.
Cohhn’s appeal argues that expert sharpshooters could kill deer swiftly and certainly. Deer could die slowly from bowhunters or suffer needlessly from the injuries caused by steel arrows. That needless suffering would violate Maryland law, she claims.