January 4, 2022, was an upsetting day for the staff and volunteers at the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays. A deer had been shot by a hunter just feet from our wildlife hospital — stray bullets tearing through the fencing and into an animal enclosure area, where a staff member was working. The hunter was charged with several New York State Department of Environmental Conservation violations.
I had been complaining to the State DEC since state-owned land next to our building opened to hunting in 2004, four years after we started our operations at Munn’s Pond County Park. I complained of hunters trespassing in the park, where hunting is not allowed; arrows being found around the caging areas; tree stands erected on the park property; and noise from gunfire frightening our injured animals, all of which have already suffered trauma.
I documented each episode. I warned that hunting at this location presented a danger to our staff, volunteers and park-goers traversing the park’s nature trail.
And, finally, this happened. Are they waiting for someone to get killed next?
We were here first, long before hunting started there. As the founder, I never would’ve chosen a spot with hunting right next door. We are a wildlife hospital; it’s like having an adult bookstore next to a children’s playground.
State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. agreed, stating at a meeting with state and county officials: “It is an incompatible use of the property and presents a danger to the staff and the public.”
Thiele subsequently introduced Assembly Bill 9895, which prohibits the hunting of wild deer on certain state lands adjacent to a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility. This specifically refers to the Munn’s Pond County Park wildlife hospital.
The bill, which passed both the Senate and the Assembly on June 2, was delivered to the governor on Tuesday, December 6. Governor Kathy Hochul has until December 17 to either sign or veto the bill.
Please, Governor Hochul — we have been through enough torment. Our employees are afraid to work outside.
Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center Inc.
One fine body…