ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (AP) – Two women were arrested Monday after they chained themselves to the front doors of a Catholic diocese building to protest the authorized killing of deer on church property.

“We’re appealing to members of the diocese who respect God’s teachings of love and compassion of all creatures to halt the inhumane deer killing,” Deirdre Guelke, a Hunter College student from Queens, said in a statement before her arrest.

Guelke and Therese Ferreira chained themselves to the entrance of the Diocese of Rockville Centre offices to protest the deer cull at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception and in Caumsett State Historic Park.

A marksman with a shotgun has been hunting the deer because of an increase in the number of car accidents and near misses with the animals on local roads. The deer meat has been used to stock a food pantry.

The two women each were charged with disorderly conduct, a violation, and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, after authorities cut them loose, police spokesman Jeff Kluewer said. Ferreira was released Monday evening from the Rockville Centre police station.

Guelke was expected to be freed later Monday.

The 24-year-old students looped a chain through the doors and around their necks and put their hands in a lock box, preventing them from being separated, until Nassau County Emergency Services sawed through the chain.

Ferreira, a Brooklyn College student from Huntington Station, said the deer hunt was misguided and the herd had been cut down so drastically it was nearly eradicated.

The diocese said the Village of Lloyd Harbor asked for access to the seminary grounds to cull the deer because the herd had increased so much that it posed a threat to public health and safety.

“Therefore, the diocese complied with the village request,” a diocese spokesman said.

State parks Superintendent George Gorman estimated last month that more than 60 deer lived in the 1,600-acre Caumsett park but said only 20 should be there. He said the state marksman had been going out at night to hunt the deer and had taken more than 30.

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