CASH Courier > 2001 Spring / Summer Issue

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The C.A.S.H. Courier

From the Spring/Summer 2001 Issue

Beware of a Fawn? Wildlife Watch Didn't Let a Fawn Get Away With It!

cc2001-sp-fawn1.jpg (11799 bytes)Spearheaded 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Wildlife Watch wanted Resolution 89 rescinded and Fawn censured: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 at risk.

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 arrows.

cc2001-sp-fawn2.jpg (14904 bytes)

Signs 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 Ulster County?

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 quarantine."

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 a vote.

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 its expiration.

Return to Spring / Summer 2001 Issue


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