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We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704

Articles

Overwhelmed Mamaroneck bounces 'geese' emails

From lohud.com
March 20, 2013

Overwhelmed Mamaroneck bounces 'geese' emails  
 
A Journal News reporter's email to the village of Mamaroneck with 'Geese' in the subject line bounced back.

MAMARONECK — When Gina von Eiff sent an email to Mayor Norman Rosenblum on March 16 expressing her displeasure about the village’s planned summer slaughter of geese, it immediately bounced back with the message: “banned content.”

“At first I thought they were banning me personally because I speak out a lot during meetings,” said Eiff, 56, who was born and raised in the village.

She then recruited a friend to send out test emails to the mayor, village trustees and the manager.

“Every single one of them bounced back,” said Eiff.

Soon Eiff, through various permutations on the subject line, discovered that one word was prompting the automated response.

The offending word: Geese.

When the Journal News sent out a few test emails Tuesday and Wednesday, the response was the same.

The bounced email came back with these messages:

“The following organization rejected your message: mail.vomny.org” and “rejecting banned content.”

The village’s contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to round up and kill the geese population this summer has drawn criticism not just locally but from countries around the world.

“We’ve had e-mails from Australia, Europe and South America. Our servers were being overwhelmed by several hundreds of e-mails,” said Rosenblum, explaining the village’s technological move. “A lot of them are copies of the petition the animal advocates have been circulating.”

Rosenblum said the decision was not his, but that of Village Manager Rich Slingerland.

“It was an administrative decision,” said Rosenblum. “It’s not my decision, but I understand it.”

Eiff, and many others, including animal advocate Kiley Blackman do not understand it.

“The mayor keeps saying the majority of the people sending the emails are from outside Mamaroneck. How would he know? How is our voice being heard? He is filtering our emails,” said Eiff. “This is censorship, and my civil rights are being violated.”

A recent public hearing on the subject was limited to 25 minutes, when about 50 people from throughout the New York metropolitan region had shown up to speak. Each speaker was limited to one minute each, during which they had to state their names and address, leaving them with about 40 seconds to state their case.

Blackman, who was at the meeting, said the village was sending a clear message that they did not care what the people had to say.

“The mayor clearly does not want to listen to anything, ”said Blackman.
Eiff said by law, the village is required to retain the records, and that the village could have sent the emails to another folder, instead of refusing to receive them.

“We were getting flooded by emails, about 25 to 50 an hour,” said Slingerland.

“A lot of them were automated petitions and form emails, so we set up spam filters to stop them.”

As for the state law requiring municipalities to retain records, Slingerland said:

“We haven’t received the records, they’re not in our possession,” adding, he had become aware last week that more than form letters were being filtered.

He said he was working to tweak the filters to make sure only form letters are bounced.

Calls to the New York State Committee on Open Government were not immediately returned.

“How will they respect animals if they can’t even respect people?” asked Eiff.


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