Judge Ronald E. Kmiotek sentenced the "deer lady," Anita
Depczynski, to 15 days in jail for the horrific crime of feeding
deer. The residents of Cheektowaga are safe now that this menace has been
from their midst.
In reality, Depczynski stood on principle and chose
civil disobedience to challenge the forces of rampant sprawl and Department
Conservation thuggery on behalf of the deer in
Stiglmeier Park who have become stranded by development.
The fact that anyone could face jail time for
scattering a bit of grain for the deer is shocking.
It demonstrates that the heavy hand of the DEC has
struck too hard. Wildlife Watch believes that Depczynski's appeal will lift
The DEC claims the rule is in place to prevent the
spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, but feeding deer in the park posed no
threat of spreading CWD. Conversely, venison farms, game farms, canned hunt
facilities and roadside zoos are all exempt from the ban even though they
pose a more considerable risk. The rule subverts the best science on CWD,
and its selective enforcement targets only those who love wildlife.
Depczynski has shone a light on the threat to wildlife
in our midst. Towns like Cheektowaga must begin to include the needs of
wildlife and concern for habitat in community planning.
Jim Van Alstine
Assistant Director, Wildlife Watch