Caring for Cottontails has spent the last five years serving as an undeserved target for the DEC. We have had a cruel smear campaign initiated by William Powell of DEC's Division of Law Enforcement. Likewise, since November 2017, the return of boarded animals owned by our facility has been prevented by Joe Therrien and James Farquhar, the Director of the DEC's Special Licenses Unit and his supervisor, respectively, when they issued a secret statement containing false accusations - presumably regarding alleged neglect of our animals.
Clearly, if we were truly not taking care of our animals, the proper process would have been followed and would have been much more transparent than secretly writing a statement and giving it to everyone else but the alleged culprit herself. It is not helping the problem of animal neglect and cruelty at all by “crying wolf” like the DEC and some people who do so in order to get free animals or intentionally ruin someone's reputation so the person's business will fold. This is a very common tactic used by both animal rights advocates and exotic animal owners. Such a trend builds resentment and quickly desensitizes people to a very real and chronic problem in our world which needs every ounce of support and resources our society can muster up. Every resource expended on a false target takes away from the detection of a real one. One must consider such resources wasted when they could have gone to much better use; especially since resources are finite.
Not once has our organization received the justice it deserves as we have literally had no voice at all. The DEC has caused prejudice against us at every phase of this endeavor by interfering with judicial proceedings and submission of complaints thereby fixing their outcomes. Secret gossip and statements have been circulated by the Dept. staff accusing us of "hoarding" (we are a zoological facility with a license to Collect & Possess), animal neglect and cruelty along with an entire host of other allegations which have been neither cited nor even mentioned in any detail to our Director. Thus such allegations have not been proven or adjudicated. There's a reason for this - it's because no hoarding, neglect, cruelty, etc. ever happened in the first place.
Here's some insight into how our animals looked when the DEC passed around allegations throughout the exotic and wild animal industry. These pictures were taken at the spur of the moment so nothing in the pictures was 'primped or prodded" to look nicer than it did on a daily basis. Yes, we were still renovating and adding onto the facility, so it was always a work in progress, but it was nearing completion. The derogatory remarks a few Region 8 officers made to other people regarding our facility just shows how the Department is so estranged from the exotic animal world, they have no idea what they are looking at when they visit a facility. For more details of the various events which took place over the last several years which have culminated in our decision to take our freedom, liberties and privileges back, check back as more updates are added to this site.
Note: We tried civil disobedience and almost talked ourselves into doing whatever we wanted. However, we just couldn't do it. Any of the few calls we had, we referred to other individuals who had paper licenses. In fact, any animals we found, there were two, we took to other rehabilitators who were considered licensed by the DEC. We never obtained new animals nor did we really invite anyone over with unlawful possession of animals. We wish we could say we were "toughies" and really did go into civil disobedience but I cannot - truth is, we just stayed the way we were. Although we feel the laws are ineffective in our industry, we still could not bring ourselves to intentionally violate them. Although we don't support the way the current laws are enforced, we do support the fact that there are laws that need to be followed. It's not the laws that are the problem, it's the way they are enforced.
We are now putting our energy into moving the rest of our animals to boarding facilities outside of New York State. We are still vying for our animals back from Fragile Planet and another facility. Both parties are circumventing the rules and laws themselves by ex parte communications and other ways of winning the battles which was one of the reasons we thought civil disobedience was the way to go. We were tired of trying to follow laws and regulations while other people, including the attorneys and judges, were doing whatever they wanted to do regardless if it broke the rules or violated our rights. But, we have committed ourselves to using the legal system to hopefully get a remedy to our situation so we will continue to do so instead of doing things like civil disobedience. Thanks to all for your moral support! Please do follow the laws and stay safe.