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


Yonkers bans unsheathed bows

(Original publication: April 28, 2004)

The City Council last night outlawed the carrying of an unsheathed bow within the city limits, a response to concerns aroused last year by deer apparently killed by hunters in the northwest part of the city.

The legislation highlighted a short meeting in which council members also banned the use of camera phones or other imaging devices in health clubs. Both laws were passed unanimously.

The bow legislation, proposed in December by Councilwoman Dee Barbato, R-6th District, prohibits the carrying of bows in any public place. It does not apply to persons carrying bows to, from or at an authorized firing range or competition, or on their own property.

The law is modeled on a similar city ordinance that outlaws carrying or possessing firearms in a transparent case within the city. Research by lawyers in Corporation Counsel Frank Rubino's office determined that the city does not have the right to expressly outlaw hunting, which is regulated by the state.

Animal activists Kiley Blackman and Taffy Williams helped press for the legislation after neighbors of the Andrus Children's Center on North Broadway complained to police in November and December about bowhunters on the 110-acre property, a large part of which is heavily wooded. The pair attended last night's meeting to press the council to vote in favor of the legislation.

"It's insane to think this would be allowed in Yonkers and no one would get hurt," Williams said.

Blackman pledged to aggressively distribute leaflets in the area to make people aware of the new law.

Bow hunting is the only form of hunting allowed in Westchester County under state law. The deer-hunting season in Westchester is from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, and a valid hunting license is required. It is illegal to hunt on private property without permission.

State law also has restrictions on where hunting can be done, such as within 500 feet of a dwelling or occupied building unless there is consent from the owner. In addition, archers cannot use bows with any mechanical device that is attached to the bow for drawing, holding or releasing the bowstring.

The ban on camera phones was proposed earlier this month by Council President Richard Martinelli. It piggybacks a similar county law passed last month, which prohibits the use of cell phones and other picture-taking devices from locker rooms, bathrooms and changing areas of Westchester- run facilities.

The Yonkers law imposes penalties including fines and possible imprisonment. It requires health club operators to post signs at the entrances of facilities making people aware of the law and asking them to report violations to management.

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