New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Aug. 23, 2019
(Editor’s note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the state of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.)
Osprey rescued from burning nest
On July 17, ECO Taylor Della Rocco was called to Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island to assist with an injured osprey. The osprey’s nest was atop a telephone pole when a pair of live wires set the nest on fire. FDNY responded to the fire and Della Rocco assisted with rescuing the young osprey. Although the juvenile osprey had some burnt feathers, it was healthy enough to fly away without difficulty. ECO Brendan Dickson arrived and the ECOs searched the surrounding area for any other ospreys that could have been affected by the fire. The officers located a second osprey nearby with serious burns and lost feathers, unable to fly. The ECOs captured and safely transported the injured osprey to The Raptor Trust in New Jersey for rehabilitation, where it is recovering. The other juvenile is being monitored in its natural habitat to ensure it has no lingering effects from its injuries.
Leadership and Law Academy outreach
On July 17, ECOs Ricky Wood and Corey Hornicek attended the annual Leadership and Law outreach program at Pine Bush High School, an elective program focusing on government, economics, and the criminal justice system that students attend for school credit. The 14-day paramilitary program is taught by town of Crawford police officers, United States Army personnel and high school social studies teachers. During their presentation, Wood and Hornicek brought K-9 Deming and demonstrated bear meat detection, spent shell casing detection and police dog obedience training. The officers also shared a brief history of environmental conservation police officers, who have been serving New York since 1880, and answered students’ questions. The class gives each student a full awareness of the variety of first responder and law enforcement jobs offered throughout the state.
Trapped blue heron
On the evening of July 19, ECO Nathan Doig responded to a call at Columbia Lake in the town of Deposit for a blue heron stuck in a beaver trap. Upon his arrival, a licensed nuisance wildlife control operator permitted to have a beaver trap was in the process of releasing the heron. Doig checked on the heron the following day and captured the bird, which turned out to have suffered a broken leg. The officer brought it to Friends of the Feathered and Furry rehabilitators, who were able to splint the leg. The bird is expected to be released when it has fully recovered. No charges were filed against the nuisance trapper.
Between July 20 and 22, ECOs responded to several complaints of an intoxicated subject causing a disturbance and arguing with his girlfriend at the Hearthstone Point State Campsite in Lake George. On July 22, ECOs evicted the man from the campground. On July 25, ECO Marcia Goodrich along with Lts. Rob Higgins and Ben Bramlage responded to a report that he had returned to the campground. They found his girlfriend’s campsite vacant but a nearby camper advised the officers that the man had fled as patrol vehicles approached. The subject was located by the officers a short time later hiding in a bathroom stall and was arrested for trespassing and campground violations. He was arraigned at the Lake George Town Court and remanded to the Warren County Jail. On July 27, ECO Matt Krug responded to assist Warren County sheriff’s deputies with a subject causing a disturbance and damaging property in the Lake George Battleground State Campsite. Krug arrived to find the same subject that had been arrested two days earlier at Hearthstone Point. His girlfriend had moved her campsite to the Battleground campsite, where the subject went after being released from jail. The man was arrested, charged with criminal mischief and campground violations, and again sent to the Warren County Jail to await arraignment.
Falconer’s hawk found
On Nov. 6, ECO Anthony Glorioso was contacted by a resident in the town of Cairo who reported a hawk behaving strangely near his house. Glorioso arrived and located a nonnative hawk perched in a tree. A closer look revealed the hawk had a bell on its leg, leading the ECO to believe a licensed falconer may have lost their captive hawk. Glorioso knew of a falconer living a few miles away, and upon arriving at the man’s house, the falconer excitedly asked, “You found my bird?” The two drove to the location and safely captured the hawk, which had been missing for three days after high winds had blown it off course during a training flight. The Harris hawk, a native to the southwestern United States, would not have survived the coming winter if it had not been found.
Illegal hunting on federal property
On Nov. 7, ECOs Rob Higgins and Steve Shaw received an anonymous tip from a concerned citizen in the town of Milton who believed that multiple individuals would be trespassing and hunting the next morning on the Knolls Kesselring site, which is federal property. The ECOs made a quick plan to meet early the next morning and set up before daylight where the hunters would most likely enter the property. At daylight on Nov. 8, three men were spotted walking down a trail when the ECOs made their presence known. The men were all carrying rifles and all three were charged with possessing firearms afield during the Southern Zone archery season and trespassing on posted property. Charges were pending in Milton Town Court and additional charges may be filed pending further investigation.
Teamwork makes police work
On Nov. 7, ECO Michael Hameline was contacted by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department and asked to help with a case under investigation. The deputies had been called to an address in Rock Hill for a trespassing complaint, where they believed the responsible party had illegally killed a deer with a crossbow. By the time Hameline arrived at the scene, the deputies had the responsible party in custody for the trespassing issue. An 8-point buck shot with a crossbow was found dead in an adjacent neighbor’s yard. The officers determined that the responsible party did not possess the proper licenses to hunt in the early crossbow season and did not have permission to discharge a crossbow within 250 feet of the complainant’s dwelling. The individual was arraigned in Thompson Town Court for the criminal trespassing and environmental conservation law violations, and the deer was seized as evidence.
Poacher without a conscience
On Nov. 10, ECOs Rob Howe and Jeff Hull responded to a poaching complaint in the city of Rome. The ECOs located the suspect who had just killed two deer, a buck and a doe, with a crossbow. The ECOs determined the suspect did not have the required license to hunt with a crossbow. The officers also discovered the suspect had taken two deer earlier in the season. The ECOs seized the two deer at the scene, donated them to a local game dinner, and issued tickets for hunting without a license, taking big game in excess of the bag limit, illegally killing protected wildlife, failing to report deer harvest, and lending carcass tags to another hunter. The Rome Police Department helped in the case, which was pending in Rome City Court.
Eagle on the parkway
An alert driver traveling on the Taconic State Parkway on Nov. 14, spotted a bald eagle that appeared to be in distress and notified the DEC. ECO Craig Tompkins responded and found two citizens pulled over on the shoulder of the road, covering the eagle with towels to help keep it calm until help arrived. Tompkins used the towels to pick up the large bird and transfer it to his patrol vehicle, where it was placed inside a carrier. The eagle was brought to a local wildlife rehabilitator for treatment, where the 4-year-old eagle tested positive for lead poisoning. The rehabilitator began treatments immediately to nurse the eagle back to health.