New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – July 10, 2020
(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.)
Safe Relocation for Wandering Bear (Dutchess County)
On June 14, ECOs Mike Hameline and Kevin Wamsley received a call reporting a bear in the city of Beacon. The bear was seen wandering the neighborhood during the day and would not leave the highly populated area. Eventually the bear climbed a tree, drawing a crowd. The ECOs secured the area, ensuring people stayed a safe distance away, and a DEC biologist arrived on scene and tranquilized the bear without incident. The biologist darted the bear in the tree with pads set up at the base to cushion its fall. After ECOs secured the bear, the biologist checked the animal’s vitals to ensure it was in good health and tagged it for identification purposes before placing the bear in a trailer for transport. ECOs transported the bear to a less populated area in the county and released it after the effects of the tranquilizer wore off. DEC reminds the public not interact with bears. If left alone and given the opportunity, nearly all bears that wander into urban or suburban areas will leave as quickly and quietly as they appear, without serious conflict or the need for physical removal. For more information, visit DEC webpages on black bears and reducing bear-human conflicts.
Duck Day Afternoon
(Nassau and Suffolk Counties)
On June 2, ECO Chris DeRose received a call from a woman who had heard ducklings chirping in a storm drain while walking her dog in a commercial area of Suffolk County. ECO DeRose responded and found seven ducklings stuck in the bottom of four interconnected drains. Unfortunately, there were no adult ducks in the area nor standing water. ECO DeRose, with the help of a good Samaritan, removed the large storm drain grate and after getting a little creative, corralled the ducklings into one of the drains. ECO DeRose then safely removed the ducklings. While on his way to a local rehabilitator to drop off the rescued orphan ducks, ECO DeRose received a call that a mother duck and her six ducklings had entered a nearly empty in-ground pool in Nassau County and could not get out. After conferring, the officer and the wildlife rehabilitator went to check on the ducks trapped in the pool. With nets and quick hands, ECO DeRose and the rehabilitator safely removed the hen mallard and her six ducklings. Since her ducklings were approximately the same age of the newly orphaned, rescued ducklings, the 13 ducklings were released with the rescued hen in a nearby lake. After release, the hen mallard successfully accepted the orphan ducklings and the family of 14 appeared to enjoy their new home, which is much nicer than a storm drain or a swimming pool. Video of duck release is available here.
Red-Tailed Hawk Rescue
On June 2, ECO Shane Manns received a call from an individual who found an injured red-tailed hawk on the ground. The officer responded to the area and located the hawk with an injured wing. ECO Manns gently wrapped the hawk in a blanket and placed it inside a carrier in his patrol vehicle. He transported the bird to a local, DEC-permitted rehabilitator for evaluation and care. A few days later, the rehabilitator informed ECO Manns that the hawk should make a full recovery and is set to be released soon.
ECOs Assist Boaters on Great Sacandaga Lake
On June 6, ECOs Shane Manns and Paul Pasciak were patrolling near the Broadalbin boat launch when a wind storm came through the area. Dozens of vessels began to crowd the launch due to the large waves and windy conditions. ECOs Manns and Pasciak immediately began assisting boaters, safely pulling them to shore and retrieving vessels. ECO Pasciak rescued a woman who fell overboard from a vessel near the docks and both ECOs rescued an individual who fell off of a personal watercraft and was having difficulty getting to the dock. Dozens of vessels and people safely reached the shore with assistance from the two ECOs.
ECO Responds to Spill
On June 6, ECO Jennifer Okonuk assisted the New York State Police with a motor vehicle accident in the town of Bellmont. A tractor trailer struck the back of a SUV, injuring the driver. An undetermined amount of hydraulic fluid spilled from the truck, entering the Chateauguay River, a DEC fishing access site. NYSP ticketed the driver for following too close, and ECO Okonuk coordinated with DEC Spill Responders and the trucking company to mitigate the effects of the spill and conduct an immediate cleanup.
On June 9, ECO Don Damrath, working with Syracuse Police Officer Carlos Romain, uncovered photographic and physical evidence leading to the arrests of three individuals now facing charges related to dumping construction and demolition debris (C&D) and solid waste at a vacant lot near Kirk Park. Approximately 50 cubic yards of waste, including roofing materials, waste tires, and demolition debris were dumped. Officer Romain located the rental trailer used to transport the materials and interviews helped to identify the suspects. James Alexander, George Harris Jr., and Casper E. Booker, all from Syracuse, were issued appearance tickets for unlawful disposal of solid waste. DEC Law Enforcement has a verbal agreement with all three men to clean up the site by June 12.
Push Ups for Suicide Awareness (Onondaga County)
On May 20, Bureau of Environmental Crimes Lieutenant Neil Stevens and ECOs Paul Sherman, Don Damrath, Matt Foster, and Matt Burdick joined 50 other police officers from 15 different agencies at the New York State Fairgrounds for the “22 Push-Ups for 22 Days” challenge. This national challenge raises awareness about the high suicide rates of military combat veterans and law enforcement officers. The five Region 7 ECOs volunteered to participate in the challenge, and easily completed the 22 push-ups.