by Fawn Tantillo (Fawn's gun shop - left), a local Ulster County
Resolution had already been passed unanimously when we found out
about it. We were shocked to discover that Resolution 89 shackled
the general dog-owning public. While the Resolution purported to
have humane concerns for deer, it prohibited the public from being
in open space with an unleashed pet dog; yet it allowed hunters
to bring their dogs outside, unleashed.
Wildlife Watch wanted Resolution 89 rescinded and Fawn censured:
The flawed Resolution stated that there was "severe depredation" of
the deer population caused by dogs in the County, and further stated
that evidence was on file with the Clerk of the Legislature, yet
there was no evidence on file.
When Wildlife Watch called for the alleged "evidence," Fawn
Tantillo said she had to "gather" the evidence and that
it had been misstated in the Resolution that the evidence was on
file with the Clerk. When asked when she would be finished "gathering" the
evidence, she said she didn't know.
After not hearing back from Ms. Tantillo by the end of March,
approximately 6 weeks after the Resolution was in effect, we put
in a Freedom of Information request to see what evidence was on
file with the County Clerk. The next day, we received a fax of
a DEC letter, dated March 26th, to Fawn Tantillo. The letter clearly
indicated that it was Ms. Tantillo who had solicited the information
from them after the Resolution had passed. The DEC letter stated
that there was a grand total of 16 complaints spread over seven
counties, six of which were in Ulster. This so called "evidence" is
ludicrous as grounds for shackling the public and placing dogs
In a Times Herald Record report, Glen Cole of the NYS DEC was
quoted as saying the agency did not recommend that the Legislature
take action because NO cases had been documented.
Ms. Tantillo proudly states that she is a hunter who also owns
a sporting goods store that sells firearms, ammunition, bows and
outside Fawn's shop
Speaking at a meeting of the Ulster County Legislature,
Anne Muller blasted this Resolution. The points made were as follows:
Does it not appear to be disingenuous to provide
hunters with the weaponry to kill deer and wound them, and then
tout Resolution 89 as a "humane Resolution" for deer?
Adding insult to injury, how humane is it when it allows dogs to
be destroyed if they are accused of chasing deer??
Resolution 89 claims to cover the period of heavy
snow. How many deer sink into deep snow at the end of April in
This law concerns us in part because of the way it
could play out. Imagine that a hunter sees a dog chase away the
deer that he or she is about to put a bullet or arrow into. Does
anyone believe that hunter is going to put down his bow or rifle,
walk out of woods, find a phone booth, and call a dog officer to
seize the dog. Just what do you think that hunter is going to do?
What if that destroyed dog is a Chihuahua, or a Seeing
Eye dog, or a "working dog" or someone's sloppy mutt?
This Resolution does not even require that the owner
be notified, or that there be any attempt to find the owner. This
resolution merely gives a nod to an angered hunter, whose "deer" may
be chased, to dispose of the dog (unless, of course, it is a dog
belonging to a fellow hunter!)
If a "working dog" is
killed, that's $10,000 of training lost, not to mention the hardship
that it will cause the disabled person. If a "seeing eye dog" is
shot, it's the same story. If a sloppy/floppy mutt or little Chihuahua
is killed, it adds up to a lot of suffering for the family. And,
to add insult to injury, the dog owners can then be fined!
If the motivation for the law is to be humane, then
there should be a "hunter quarantine" and not a "dog
We are asking the Ulster County Legislature to revisit
this ill-conceived law and rescind it based on the newly emerged
information. Legislators with vested interests in hunting should
not be endangering members of our family including our pets.
We are here tonight to let the legislature know
that from now on in Ulster, we are giving animals a voice and
Following the presentation, I expected icy glares
if not tomatoes flying, for the law had been voted in unanimously
(the Legislature had been deceived, of course), but instead there
was loud applause from a packed house!
FOLLOWUP: Fawn Tantillo called to apologize and say
that she would not attempt to pass the local law again after