ST. ANSGAR, Iowa, March 15 (UPI) -- Officials in an Iowa county said a controversial sign warning of "Suicidal Deer" is meant to keep motorists alert when driving in animal-heavy areas.
Some Mitchell County residents said they feel the sign, which was installed recently along Highway 105 just outside of St. Ansgar, is insensitive toward those suffering from mental illness.
"Suicide? That makes it look like a joke, and myself, I have never had anybody close to me decide to take their own life, but I've had a lot of friends and other people who have and I know it is a sensitive subject," Sally Hertel, who lives near the sign, told KIMT-TV.
Mitchell County Supervisor Stan Walk said the sign, which was approved by the county Board of Supervisors, was inspired by a similar sign in Illinois.
"We saw a sign like this one in Illinois, and thought it would be an effective way to warn people of deer. We did not intend for it to be hurtful, but we will stand by the idea that it is an effective warning method," Walk said.
Walk said the county previously installed yellow "Deer Crossing" signs around the area, but officials feared motorists were not paying enough attention to the warnings.
He said the county has purchased additional "Suicidal Deer" warning signs, but officials have yet to determine whether they will be installed.