Deer Lady of Cheektowaga and the DEC
'Deer lady' wants to tackle issue in Albany
By BARBARA O'BRIEN
News Staff Reporter
Next stop, Albany?
She's been to the Cheektowaga Town Board, Cheektowaga Town
Court and the Erie County Holding Center. Now Anita Depczynski of
Cheektowaga has her sights set on Albany.
The woman who was sentenced to 15 days in jail for feeding
the deer in Stiglmeier Park says she wants to tackle the issue on a
"If we've got too many animals, let's do something about
it," she said, adding that she wants to see Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Depczynski, known as "the deer lady," contends that it
would be cruel to stop feeding the deer in Stiglmeier Park because they have
been fed by humans for many years. She would like to see oral contraceptives
given to deer to reduce their numbers.
Depczynski said she has been contacted by many people
offering their support, some wanting to pack the courtroom to show
solidarity with her. She turned them down. People send her money and she
mails it back to them, she said.
Her cause has attracted the support of Wildlife Watch, an
organization based in New Paltz.
"When we heard what was going on, it tied in with
situations that are all too familiar to us," said James Van Alstine of
Wildlife Watch, who attended Depczynski's sentencing
before Cheektowaga Justice Ronald E. Kmiotek last on Tuesday.
Depczynski was taken to the holding center and released
the same day, pending an appeal of her conviction.
Van Alstine blames DEC "over-regulation" for the
promulgation of the regulation prohibiting the feeding of white-tailed deer.
But the DEC maintains that the nature of the fatal chronic wasting disease
requires extraordinary measures to address the threat it poses to deer.
"If it happened in Cheektowaga, in can and probably will
happen elsewhere," Van Alstine said of the charges.
It already has. West Seneca Town Justice Wallace
Piotrowski gave Donna Gasiewicz, of West Seneca, a one-year
adjournment in contemplation of dismissal in April for feeding deer in her
yard. Two cases from Stiglmeier Park have come before Cheektowaga Town
Justice Thomas S. Kolbert. He gave Joseph Iwaniszek a six-month adjournment
in contemplation of dismissal, and a case against Robert Hartman is still
pending, according to court records.