New York Cuffs & Collars – December 11th, 2015
Unlawful possession of trout
ECO Matthew Burdick responded to Belmont State Park on a complaint of fishermen taking over limits of trout and hiding them in a nearby vehicle. Upon arrival, two persons matching the description were observed fishing at the location. After catching more fish, the men walked to a vehicle and began placing their gear and catch inside. The officer then decided to approach the men, conducting a compliance inspection for their licenses and catch. Burdick confirmed that the subjects had seven trout in a backpack and an additional 10 trout stored in a bag in the vehicle. The two men were each issued citations for possessing over limit of trout.
Graveyard bobcat poaching
ECO Dustin Dainack received a call from a concerned hunter and trapper who had just been texted a troubling photo. In the photo was a man holding a freshly killed bobcat and the text “40-pound bobcat, my foreman shot it this morning at 9.” The troubling part was that bobcat season had been closed for over a month. Armed with the photo, Dainack could make out the name of the facility on the man’s uniform, which was a nearby cemetery. Upon arrival, Dainack stopped a slow-moving work truck. Behind the wheel of the truck was the man who the officer recognized as the person holding the bobcat in the photograph. He now wore a mixed expression of shock and guilt at the sight of the officer. After a brief interview the poacher admitted to shooting the bobcat earlier that morning and turned over the carcass.
Burn barrel blaze
ECO Mike Terrell responded to an unattended fire in the town of Middleburgh. Terrell was familiar with the suspect, having charged him twice in the past for violations of the New York state burning laws. The subject was issued two tickets and arraigned before Town Justice Michael Guntert, who set bail at $500. The case was pending Middleburgh Town Court.
Later that afternoon, Terrell was contacted by Schoharie County 911 to return back to the town of Middleburgh at the request of incident commander Gerry Wayman. After a lengthy investigation, Terrell discovered the origin of the 35-acre wildfire to be the illegal burning of garbage in a different burn barrel. A subject later admitted to illegally burning in a barrel and that while he was attempting to put the fire out, it got away from him. The subject called 911, but then fled the scene when emergency responders were dispatched. The subject was charged with the unlawful disposal of solid waste, unattended fire, burning during a burn ban, and setting a fire which caused property damage to another. The case was pending in Middleburgh Town Court.
ECO Stan Winnick was contacted by the Tioga County Sheriff’s Department regarding a five-acre grass fire that was ignited by an unlawful burning. Upon his arrival he was met by Newark Valley volunteer firemen who were in the process of putting out hot spots and informed Winnick that the fire had started from a burn barrel. Winnick interviewed the property resident, who admitted to starting the fire in the burn barrel, as well as burning tires. The subject was issued a total of two tickets for open burning as well as unlawful disposal of solid waste.
Solid waste traffic stop
ECO Aaron Markey was patrolling the town of Norwich with Region 7 Air Quality Specialist Tom Gragg. Markey observed a vehicle hauling a large trailer of uncovered solid waste. Upon performing a traffic stop, Markey learned through a subsequent DMV check that the man was operating while his driver’s license was revoked. The driver had two revocations for driving while intoxicated as well as unpaid child support and failure to pay fines. The driver was charged with transporting uncovered solid waste as well as aggravated unlicensed operation 2nd degree. He was immediately arraigned in the local court and was remanded to the Chenango County Correctional Facility on $500 cash bail or $2,500 property bond.
ECO Landon Simmons received a call about a neighbor who was trapping and keeping cardinals in a cage outside his home. When the officer arrived on scene, the resident proudly showed how he had set up a box trap for the birds. A cage with bird seed underneath was being propped up with a stick. The stick was attached to a string that led to the window of the home. When the string was pulled from inside, the cage would fall, trapping any birds attracted to the seed. This trap apparently worked well and the resident managed to capture six northern cardinals. Unfortunately for the creator of the trap, northern cardinals are a protected bird. The law was explained to the individual and his son. Simmons then issued a written warning for illegally taking protected birds. The birds were released back into the wild
Posting about poaching
ECO Christopher Lattimer received a call that some men had caught a 25 striped bass the night before and posted pictures of them on Facebook. Lattimer searched for the individuals on Facebook and found multiple pictures of one of the subjects with approximately 20 striped bass that he claimed to have caught. A quick license check revealed that the individual did possess a valid New York State Marine Registry and lived in the city of Newburgh. Lattimer patrolled to the city of Newburgh and met with Newburgh Police Sgt. Cortez and one of his detectives who would be assisting with the case. The officers patrolled to the defendant’s residence and met with him, and after brief questioning he admitted to catching over his limit of striped bass the night before. He stated that he did not catch all 20 fish and that there were two other men with him, but would give no further information. The fisherman stated that he had 10 fish in his possession and showed the officers his freezer where he was keeping the fish. He also stated that he had already eaten one fish the night before. The man was issued tickets for taking over the limit of striped bass and for taking striped bass out of slot size, all returnable to Newburgh City Court.
What did they do with my bird!?
ECO Beverly Whalen received a complaint from an anonymous caller who claimed his neighbor was illegally in possession of a red-tailed hawk. The hawk was being housed in an abandoned building in the city of Poughkeepsie. A tenant of that building had been previously warned in the past about caged doves he was breeding in his room and the prohibited release of them on his window sill to lure in passing raptors. Whalen spent one afternoon on surveillance and interviews of neighbors in an attempt to locate “the bike repair guy who drinks vodka and rides around with a cockatiel on his shoulder.” The next morning Whalen waited near the doorstep and intercepted the individual in question. In one empty room on a perch sat “Kayla,” the red-tailed hawk he said he had found under the fire escape during a snowstorm several weeks earlier. Whalen explained to him that the hawk should have gone immediately to a rehabilitator. “Kayla” was then transported to the Trevor Zoo, a professional wildlife care facility licensed to do raptor rehabilitation and operated by students and staff of the Millbrook School. Officer Whalen then had him sign a written warning for illegal possession of wildlife. A few mornings later on her day off, Whalen answered the phone to hear an angry man demanding to know what they did with “his bird.” She explained that the bird had been transferred to a flight cage, where it had demonstrated its ability to capture live prey and that more than likely “Kayla” would be released to the wild.
‘I was going to do something’
ECO Gregg Maneeley received a complaint that a logger had spilled hydraulic fluid at the log-landing site he was working on in the town of Scriba. Maneeley responded to the location and observed standing puddles of oil on the ground. He started to check the area and found that due to recent heavy rains, some of the oil had been washed off site, traveled to the shoulder of the road, into a culvert and then crossed two roads ending up in a pond. Maneeley quickly called DEC spills personnel to respond while waiting to get in contact with the logger. Shortly after making some phone calls, the owner and operator of the logging company arrived at the site and inquired as to what the problem was. Maneeley showed him the area and asked what happened. The logger then stated that he blew a hydraulic line on a piece of equipment and failed to notify anyone or clean it up. He then said that he was going to get some sand to soak up the mess but heavy rains set in (two days later) and he hadn’t gotten to it. Maneeley issued him a citation for failure to report a spill and ensured him that he contacted an environmental cleanup company which was responding to take care of the oil the right way.