The stay prevents the Fire Island National Seashore, which oversees the estate, from shooting and killing white-tailed deer as part of a previously approved management plan until U.S. District Court Judge Sandra Feurstein issues a ruling on a combined motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction by the Washington, D.C.-based Animal Welfare Institute and Newark-based Wildlife Preserves Inc.
The cull was set for Feb. 20 to March 31 to ensure a healthy local habitat, officials said. It was set to be carried out by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service employees.
The judge had approved a motion to stop the hunt earlier in the week and set Thursday as a hearing date on the matter.
The judge did not indicate when she would issue a ruling on the merits, said Animal Welfare Institute executive director and general counsel Nadia S. Adawi.
Fire Island National Seashore spokeswoman Elizabeth Rogers said in an email Friday that “the NPS cannot comment on pending court action.”
Adawi said the judge had to weigh a 25-page motion by the plaintiffs and a 24-page motion filed by the NPS the day before.
“It was clear that she needed more time to read through the motions,” Adawi said. “The good news is that there will be no deer killed until she decides.”