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Southold Town Served With Temporary Restraining Order Aimed At Halting Deer Cull

The cull is expected to go on as scheduled in Southold, despite the legal action.

One animal advocate has kept her promise to commence legal action aimed at putting a halt to the deer cull in Southold.

Bridgehampton resident Wendy Chamberlin, of the Wildlife Preservation Coalition, vowed on Feb. 12 at a town board meeting to pursue legal action after the Southold Town board voted unanimously to designate $25,000 toward the deer cull.

Chamberlin confirmed on Friday that the papers had been filed and the litigation had commenced, as well as the temporary restraining order.

Chamberlin was proactive in protesting the deer cull in East Hampton; the East Hampton cull was called off for this year after anoutpouring of opposition and looming litigation.

On Friday evening, Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell explained the town's next steps.

"We expect our counsel to be in court on Wednesday to defend the board's actions here," Russell said.

He reminded that the cull is actually being sponsored by the Long Island Farm Bureau; the agency is contracting with the United States Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services division for the service.

"The legal action here is simply an effort to stop Southold Town from contributing resources to the effort," he said.

Russell said at the last meeting, the board accepted state environmental quality review act findings, then voted to allocate $25,000 to help offset  the expenses incurred by the LIFB.

"Whether or not the injunction sought is successful, I fully expect the cull to move forward," Russell said.

The cull is slated for late February, and could take place in the next few days or week, according to past reports; the actual dates and sites of the sharpshooter program will not be revealed to the public, to prevent protests, according to statements made at the last town board meeting.

Earlier this month, the Southold town board voted unanimously to support the project. Joe Gergela, executive director of the Long Island Farm Bureau, asked each of the five East End towns to contribute toward the program; the LIFB has a $250,000 grant. Southold Town's contribution is $25,000. No other East End towns opted into the plan.

"Southold Town is 100 percent in support of this program," Russell has said.

Despite a steady stream of protest by members of the hunting community who came forward to plea with the board to let them address the deer issue, for free, Russell said while the town would rather use local hunters and pointed to the program already in place, state legislation is currently so restrictive that local hunters are facing a roadblock. Russell said he would stand in solidarity with hunters to wage the battle for legislative reform.

Cutchogue resident Barbara McGowan stood up to passionately plea for the deer. Despite the fact that she is an NRA member and has no problem with guns, she said, "What they are going to do is cold-blooded murder." She quoted Albert Schweitzer, "Until we extend our compassion to all living things, humanity will find no peace." She added, "I pray for that peace here in Southold."

"My wife and I are vehemently opposed to this deer kill — it's kill, not cull," said Ben Schwab of Mattituck. "We resent our tax money going toward this."

Meanwhile, North Fork Environmental Council vice-president Dan Durett of Southold said from a film perspective, "Bambi has become the new 'Jaws.'"

Members of the group Hunters for Deer, LLC, founded by Mike Tessitore, came out in force to protest the plan and grill the board for answers.

The public outcry against the cull came after three earlier public forums and meetings, during which time the outpouring of support was overwhelmingly in favor of the cull, as residents painted pictures of lives ravaged by tick born diseases and car accidents caused by deer, and experts detailed the damage to the environment caused by the swelling deer population.


Frank T February 25, 2014 at 01:07 PM
That would be Wholefoods loss. I hope they don't import Pesticide soaked veggies from Mexico. But you probably would enjoy that since you hate local farms.
Benja Schwartz February 25, 2014 at 09:30 PM
Ooops! Listening to Supervisor Russell on this issue is like asking a fox if you should fix the fence around a chicken coop. Contrary to the coverage of the Supervisor's "opinion", the reality is that Southold would be; Breaking FOIL, SEQR and Open Meetings laws if the cull proceeds. Southold has a democratic republic duty to revoke the Resolutions finding no environmental impacts because no environmental impact statement, neither an EAF (Environmental Assessment Form*) nor an EIS**. * B. SEQR Handbook: Type II Actions http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/39800.html **http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6204.html
John J. Rasweiler IV February 25, 2014 at 09:32 PM
The plan has always been to donate as much of the venison harvested in the cull as possible to the less fortunate. In recent years, civic-minded hunters in the Town of Southold have donated over 17000 pounds of venison for this purpose.
Benja Schwartz February 25, 2014 at 09:35 PM
I forgot to mention. Despite being reported by the press to be in favor of proceeding with the proposed cull despite a court ordered halt, Supervisor Russell did not raise the topic of the deer cull at the Town Board Meeting Today. I specifically assked him if gthe cull was going to and he gave the impression it was, judge for yourself by downloading the video from http://southoldtown.iqm2.com/Citizens/Media.aspx
Benja Schwartz February 26, 2014 at 09:31 AM
JJR IV; Have you read the LIFB and USDA APHIS WS "Work Plan"? I received it this AM, after months of requests. If you are ready to ignore the blatant disinformation campaign of our local government maybe you don't want to bother with facts, but if you are interested in truth consider the position of Supervisor Russell that Southold Town is not taking any action, that the LIFB and USDA APHIS WS is doing ALL the work. Without the support by, and participation of, Southold Town the cull will not happen here.

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