NY: Cuffs and Collars Issue: 1

(Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of what we expect
to be a regular feature in New York Outdoor News. “Cuffs and
Collars” will highlight some of the activities of the DEC’s
environmental conservation officers as they relate to hunting,
fishing, trapping and the outdoors. This initial submission from
DEC’s ECOs covers some of the activities and cases from early last

Northern District

Saranac River Turbidity

(Clinton County)

On Sept. 9, 2010, Region 5 ECO Dan Malone responded to an incident
on the Saranac River in the City of Plattsburgh. The New York State
Electric and Gas (NYSEG) coal tar site was being remediated under a
Consent Order with NYSDEC. A temporary dam, which was constructed
in the spring to allow work on coal tar removal in the riverbed,
was being taken down. This caused turbidity levels in the river to
rise well above accepted levels. About 1.5 miles of the river, from
the work site to the mouth of the river on Lake Champlain, was the
color of coffee. Due to the significant turbidity, the decision was
made by the construction engineers and DEC program staff to release
all water at the site to flush the river faster. It took several
hours before the stream turbidity levels fell to acceptable levels.
After discussions with program staff, Malone issued a Notice of
Violation to a NYSEG contractor for contravention of water quality
standards. The investigation is continuing at this time.

Penal Law/ ECL Arrest

(Lewis County)

On Sept. 8, 2010, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction
with the New York State Environmental Conservation Police,
concluded a lengthy investigation with the arrest of a 24-year-old
male subject from Croghan for second-degree criminal mischief, a
class D felony; fourth-degree attempted grand larceny; third-degree
criminal trespass; and reckless endangerment of property, all class
A misdemeanors. In addition, the suspect was charged with
Environmental Conservation Law violations of discharge of a firearm
within 500 feet of a dwelling; possession of a loaded firearm in a
motor vehicle and discharge of a firearm from/across a public
highway, all misdemeanors. The investigation was conducted by
Region 6 ECO Eric Roderick, Investigator Devere Rumble and Deputy
Philip Turck and stemmed from an incident on Oct. 31, 2009 when it
is alleged that the suspect shot at one of the captive white-tailed
deer bucks held in a fenced-in area off Mud Street in the Town of
Harrisburg. The suspect then cut the fence with bolt cutters and
went in to see if he had hit the deer. After not being able to
locate the deer, the suspect left the fenced area, peeling back the
cut fence and allowing six captive white-tailed bucks to escape
into the wild. Two of the escaped bucks were subsequently
tranquilized by the owner and returned to the pen. Four others were
shot by hunters and subsequently returned to the owner, once the
hunters saw the ear tags in the animals and realized who they
belonged to. The dead bucks were tested by DEC wildlife staff in
cooperation with New York State Agriculture and Markets to check
for CWD; all tests were negative. The suspect, on probation from a
recent series of felony burglary convictions, was arraigned and
returned to Lewis County Jail on $25,000 cash bail. He awaits a
probation hearing and further prosecution on the pending

Witness Reports Man Shooting Owl (Broome County)

On Sept. 23, 2010, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Special Agent Randy
Cottrell requested assistance from the Division of Law Enforcement
with an investigation involving the attempted taking of a screech
owl that occurred on private property on Sept. 17 in the Town of
Chenango, Broome County. The property owner was a rabbit and hare
hunter who had a 22-acre rabbit enclosure where he runs his dogs.
The owner had a female beagle for sale. A man from Ohio came to
purchase the beagle and was placing it in his truck when he heard
an owl in the nearby trees. The property owner said he was going to
kill it and went into his house and came out with a shotgun and
immediately fired once at the owl. The man watched the owl fall off
the branch as another individual went into the house and retrieved
a second gun and went to locate the owl, which was never recovered.
Unfortunately for the property owner, the man from Ohio was an
off-duty investigator with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Division of Wildlife, who provided a statement and map to the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service. On Oct. 1, Region 7 ECOs Eric
Templeton and Andrew McCormick assisted Special Agent Cottrell in
searching the property for possible illegal pole sets, snares or
eggs injected with poison placed to kill raptors or other predators
there. Although the search of the enclosure did not result in the
finding of any illegal trapping or poisoning techniques, a mineral
block was found overlooked by two tree stands on the property.
Charges from both agencies are currently pending.

Southern District

Bad Time To Sell Snapping Turtles (New York County)

On Oct. 6, 2010, ECOs Dustin Dainack, Brent Wilson and Timothy
Machnica inspected a seafood market in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
During the course of the inspection, Dainack discovered multiple
plastic crates containing live snapping turtles. In total, over 383
pounds of live snapping turtles were discovered. Snapping turtles
are a native species to New York with an open hunting season
running from July 15 to Sept. 30. The season on snapping turtles
was currently closed. Dainack issued a summons to the business for
the misdemeanor level illegal sale of the protected turtles during
the closed season.

Deer Jacking,

Bear Mountain State Park (Rockland County)

On Oct. 10, 2010, ECOs Jeff Conway and Nick Desotelle received a
request for assistance by New York State Park Police regarding a
complaint of two individuals spotlighting deer in Bear Mountain
State Park. The subjects were observed spotlighting deer and in
possession of a loaded firearm. Both men were arrested and charged
with possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, hunting out
of season, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, attempting to
take deer with the aid of a light, hunting deer with rimfire
ammunition and illegally pursuing wildlife.

Felony Lobsters (Kings County)

On Sept. 29, 2010, ECO Jamie Powers received an anonymous call
stating that a Brooklyn business, was in possession of undersized
lobsters. Powers then called ECOs Shea Mathis, Neil Stevens and
Matt Baker to respond. When the officers arrived, they noticed that
there were several hundred lobsters to be measured. The officers
then called ECOs Matt Nichols and Alan Brassard for additional
assistance. The officers diligently measured, weighed and
documented all of the lobsters in the warehouse. When they were
done, they had found a total of 713 undersized lobsters. The total
weight was 749 pounds. The business owner gave the original
receipts from the place that he purchased the lobsters out of
Boston, Mass. Nichols photographed all of the evidence. The
officers then took the seized lobsters to the Bowery Mission,
located in Manhattan, where they were donated. The case is going to
be handled by the Kings County district attorney’s office. The
business owner is facing felony commercialization charges.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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