At the beginning of summer Rocky River resident Emily Hausman noticed a new family had moved in behind her house on Hilliard Boulevard. Only this family was a small herd of deer with a newborn fawn.
One day, she noticed the family trying to cross the busy street while cars sped past, almost hitting the fawn as it nervously crossed. To make sure that didn’t happen again, she put up signs telling drivers to slow down and be mindful of baby deer.
“We share this area with various different wildlife and we need to be mindful of them,” Hausman, 39, said. “That’s why we put the signs up, to raise awareness that animals cross the road here.”
The two signs are positioned in the road’s median strip of grass at Hilliard Boulevard and Cottonwood Drive and a few feet down the road. Since she put the signs up, Hausman said drivers have been more cautious and several other deer families with fawns have been able to cross safely.
Rocky River does not keep data on the size of its deer population and does not have a deer culling program. However, over the past two years there have been 11 deer-vehicle collisions in the city, according to information provided by the Rocky River Police Department.
“There’s a lot of them in the area and families are being pushed out and put into hard situations because of development and deforestation,” Hausman said. “One of Rocky River’s charms, in my opinion, is the wildlife here.”
Animal conservation has long been a passion of Hausman, who grew up in Berea. Her mother, Susan Lendvay, taught her and her sisters, Heather and Sarah, that every animal deserves a chance to live and to respect the earth.
While she attended Georgia State University for Exercise Science, Hausman worked for several local animal rescues. She saved stray dogs like pitbulls and relocated them to loving homes. Her husband, Josh Hausman, even recalls a time she saved a small litter of puppies while five months pregnant with their twins, Ellie and GiGi.
“She’s always been fearless when it came to protecting animals,” he said. “She’s got a big heart and a passion for doing the right thing, which is one of the reasons I love her.”
Hausman put the handmade signs up on June 1 with the help of the twins and their sister Hazel. She plans to remove them mid fall, when the fawns have matured into early adulthood.
There are about 750,000 deer in Ohio, an increase from last year, which had an estimated 670,000. Deer are responsible for nearly 23,000 car accidents every year, according to information provided by Trekohio.com, a nature and hiking blog that tracks wildlife in the state.
Hausman hopes that she can pass her love for wildlife on to her children and that they can continue protecting animals for years to come.
“It’s important to teach my kids about how to respect the earth and every species that comes with it,” Hausman said. “It was really important for me to share this experience with them.”
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