During his crusade to save the deer in Shawnee Mission Park, Jason Miller's protest tactics have often prompted a gallery of police officers. In fact, when a battery of Bite Club of KC activists tried to block traffic into the Johnson County park in October, Miller fully expected to get arrested. (Despite his best efforts, Miller left in his Saturn SUV, not a paddy wagon.)
Now, the provocateur is trying to use the legal system to tie the hands of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. Last week, Miller filed for a temporary restraining order to halt the impending bow hunt in Shawnee Mission Park.
And yesterday afternoon, he got a hearing in front of Johnson County Circuit Court Judge Kevin Moriarty.
In his claim, Miller alleged that park officials, including director Michael Meadors, had "abused their power, misled the public and violated their own laws" in approving a bow hunt to pare down the overpopulated deer herd to an ecologically manageable level.
Miller suggested that he is acting on behalf of "thousands of members of Bite Club of KC who reside at various locations around the world," each of whom would suffer "severe emotional trauma caused by the unnecessary annihilation of additional deer in Shawnee Mission Park."
Miller also argued that the "public interest" would be served if the parks' district were "forced to manage the deer population via non-lethal means, thus sparing the public the trauma associated with gratuitous killing of wildlife."
Last week, when I asked Randy Knight, community relations manager for the parks district, if he had any comment on Miller's allegations, Knight had a concise, one-word answer: "No."
According to Miller, Judge Moriarty was much more talkative at the hearing yesterday afternoon. "We sat there and went back and forth for 45 minutes," Miller said afterward. "He seriously considered our case."
Then, he dismissed it.
But, for the Bite Club founder, the $166 it cost to file the petition was money well-spent. "A lot of the things the judge said were favorable to our position," Miller said. "And, it showed, again, that we put up a fight."