Choosing to Operate Within a Vacuum of Ethical Standards,
Holding Kangaroo Hearings &
Refusing to Work Together with the Populace . . .
Meet the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,
the Most Hated & Dangerous Department in the State of New York.
I understand rehabilitators are not Ivory Tower residents, but they aren't stuipid either. It's quite clear that when the DEC targets a licensee, it isn't done for public welfare or safety. There's no such thing as "good faith" when it comes to the actions of the DEC, especialy their Special Licenses Unit and Division of Law Enforcement. In fact, the reason why there are so few special license hyolders getting put through the ringer and having their licenses terminated is becasue the system is used purely for going after those who threaten the DEC and their interests - usually the sensitivity is ignoted with the DEC when a member of the public exercises her freedom of thought and dares to criticize the agency.
NYSDEC has been an enemy of the freedom of thought and speech for quite some time now. so much so that the entire process, from start to finish, in taking someone's licenses away, a process which was meant to be used in good faith and in order to keep thgte system clean and hte licenses on their toes, has been downgraded as far as it can go into the bowels of DEC's cellar of secrets created out of self-interest and a great deal of apahty.
It's not that some l icensees make such egregious mistakes which render them unsafe to carry a license t rehabilitate wild animals or keep non-releasable animlas but more or a personal vendetta on part of the NYSDEC/ Violations of 6 NYCRR, 9 ECL are rampant and can be seen in every licensed facility here in New York State. The real reason why there are so few people put through the system of citations, town court and the hearings process at the DEC is that the DEC has a nasty habit of hitting below the belt, taking cheap shots at people who dare to exercise freedom of thought and speech.
If you notice the people this department has gone after who have had licenses like the LCP and LWR taken away, especially via the hearings & "mediation" department, you will notice the defendants share very similar characteristics -- namely they all are very outspoken critics of the NYSDEC. Furthermore, the vast majority of the victims are female small business owners - some of whom have had their businesses obliterated by defamation and nasty shananigans, like false accusations and "padded" citations, often initiated by the trout troopers in the field, fueled by the Special Licenses Unit (SLU) with the added privilege of having attorneys cover up the means used in doing so.
The hearings all end in guilty verdicts, no matter what. The harshest penalty is levied upon the person which partly or entirely entails revoking licensure. However, you will rarely see big corporate America have its permit revoked as quickly for proportionately erroneous deeds they commit.. In contrast, for licensees, if the AJI recommends leniency, it will always be overturned by the Commissioner, regardless of who is Commissioner at the time. The hearings are rigged partly because the standard of proof is even lower in DEC's Administrative Court than in civil court, and therefore, they are a great waste of time and resources. In fact, hearings should be optional if someone wants to appeal the final decision via an Article 78 Proceeding. Unfortunately, as of now, a litigant is required to exhaust all possible remedies through the agency on the state level, before appealing to the Supreme Court, which means that the hearing must be conducted no matter how useless it is.
Even the state courts normally uphold the judgments of the Commissioners, whether they have merit or not. It has been written that all the department has to do is put any reason down "on the dotted line" for the denial or revocation of a license to be granted by a Supreme Court Justice. It is in federal court where many litigants find greater success on the merits of their case. Why? Less political lein of the Court, fewer gods to serve ... it's that sort of thing, at least how some see it.
According to the actions of the DEC, exercising our rights, especially as outspoken, critical citizens, is illegal. These rights are the ones which hurt the feelings of their officers and frustrate the other staff members because they just can't seem to control critics, even after tarnishing good reputations, destroying business resources, taking away licensing and stealing property.
This is why I find the new face of the DEC's website (seen to the right) rather amusing as it serves as the best oxymoron I've ever seen! Must be the message on the screen applies only to the "helpers"; that is, those who share the DEC's hidden agenda of increasing regulation to an all-time high, and, in turn, further stifle education, inspiration and creative thought. Diversity, even biodiversity, is an idea to be feared throughout the DEC and those who dare to be different pay the price eventually. Licensure is treated like an exclusive club - admittees sharing the same belief systems as various influential members of the DEC staff and thus have maintained licensure the longest, regardless of the licensee's incompentency of unlawful actions. Oh, and, by the way, the home page on the DEC website changed and the image with the beautiful quote about speaking up taking off. This is not surprising. Silence is what the DEC counts on in continuing the abuses they perpetrate against the public year after year.
If someone could use some strategic advice if they are the newest target of delicensing by the NYSDEC, my advice would be 1. skip the hearing, no matter what you are going to lose; 2. either represent yourself to appeal the agency's final decision or hire an attorney; 4. If you go as far as the appellate court and still haven't hired an attorney, hire one! Be careful of the kind of attorney you choose - do your research on attorneys throughout the state startest with those closest to you; 5. Consider a civil rights case against the Department. This Department must be stopped!
Seeing how the DEC wanst us to believe it's turning over a new leaf, I will continue on and do just that - I will not become silent about the things that matter. I bet, within a week, I will be experiencing some type of retaliation from the DEC for my thoughts and opinions. With nothing more to lose, I am ready to help turn the tables.
This All Started Over One Simple Phone Call Over Which Lieutenant Powell Became Obsessed with Retaliation.
It's imperative to mention that the stories floating around are the ones started by Lt. Powell of Region 8. They are meant to defame the licensee and accuse her of things she has not done because he wasn't able to find enough of what she did do incorrectly.
This whole situation started from a scenario which is commonplace in our rehab and exotic animal facilities to this day. Rehabber takes in animals for rehabilitation and thinks she can save the world, but soon gets overwhelmed when her resources start to spread too thin. In my particular case, I had another burden which had been weighing heavily on my shoulders. I had a pack of beautiful coyote pups which needed transfer to other facilities. Unfortunately, despite the scores of calls, emails, letters, etc. to qualified facilities and individuals, no one could or would help and take on the pups so they could grow up as wild as possible in a larger space than what they had. Even with her calling many people and facilities around the nation, the rehabber tried her best to keep these yotes in the meantime as wild as possible until they were deemed unreleasable, if that was the result of her efforts. Despite what Powell, Therrien or anyone from the Special Licenses Unit or Division of Law Enforcement say, the rehabber tried her very best to work with what she had and had looked forward to the day she could open the door of the carrier and watch each canine shoot out of it like a bolt of lightening (finally) running to their heart's content because they were finally back home. The rehabber didn't give up on the pups nor her ability to find another facility. She blacked out their kennel, started expanding the area of thier living space, and made many calls as much as she could while balancing the other happenings occurring around her facility. Then, it happened. She got seriously injured.
Two region 8 officers came by to look at coyotes about a month prior to her injury and said everything was good. Rehabber called Lt. Powell and he also said everything was ok and there were no concerns. It was just a visit to verify licensing as they weren't aware of the rehabber's facility. Unfortunately the rehabber and Powell left the phone conversation in an argument, which started over Powell's refusal to ask his officers to leave a business card if they visit again in the future and licensee isn't present at the time of their visit. My parents forgot who the visitors were that day and couldn't relay much information to me when I returned from out of town.
In May, two staff members came back for another visit and then took the coyotes and it was then when Lt. Powell and his boys started targetting the rehabber, circulating rumors which weren't true such as, but not limited to, rehabber bred the coyotes, was breeding foxes for pets, habituated the coyotes purposely, etc. Of course, many people, as gullible as they are nowadays, went for the lies hook, line and sinker, especially the "helpers". During my research I have found out that witnesses were manipulated by Powell and other law enforcement officers in writing statements of a certain "flavor". Anything positive in her file was negated by Powell instead of being considered as a piece of "all relevant circumstances" (as it states in 6 NYCRR 175.5(a)) of an actual investigation. This was done by either removing the documentation from the file altogether, or having the author of any positive review or notice, rewrite their statement(s) after hearing the many lies Powell recited to them directly and then ending with the question "Do you still want to keep your favorable statement about her?".
Helpers are licensees through the SLU who do special favors for the officers (eh hem!) which, in turn, they get free animals which officers confiscate or seize from other individuals. Meanwhile, the rehabber continued to work in spite of her injury which she had sustained in December 2015. Of course, by then, she fell behind on tasks, etc. as the pain from the accident which caused the injury interfered with her productivity. However, she continued to work in spite of the injury for about 18 months until things were in an acceptable state and the animals were comfortable and then she went in for surgery.
However, the DEC (Lieutenant Powell, Joe Therrien and Paul Stringer) encouraged another licensee to implement an agreement with the rehabber under false pretenses, to board a few animals for her while she was in the hospital and leave the state with her animals without the rehabber's approval. This started an investigation on behalf of the rehabber after she recovered from her surgery and what she has been finding out has been worse than expected!
This agency in charge of managing our natural resources is steadfastly dedicated to its own extraneous interests. It often breaks the law and literally act with absolutely no accountability or ethical conduct whatsoever. The staff appears incompetent at times and it is poorly run with a sharp decline on education and services to the public in recent years. The exclusion of its volunteers who want to be heard about things that matter has also been evidenced by at least three lawsuits filed against the agency by rehabilitators and the New York State Wildlife Rehabilitators Council over the past several years.
Furthermore, precadence is being set! More and more people are coming forward and turning to the courts for relief which resulted from the unethical and unlawful actions of DEC staff members. One such case is the Matter of James P. McCulley; a case which took fifteen years of litigation over a charge levied upon him resulting in a $50 fine! The cost of the case was estimated at around $250,000 - $300,000! For a $50 ticket???? Another attribute of the DEC staff is there uncanny ability to waste resources and cost the tax payers more money and higher taxes in the future. We, as tax payers, are expected to fund this group of psychopaths who obsess over every incident that may come up in which they do not get their own way! The state's precious resources are being misapproriated and used SOLEY to soothe the egos of some members of the staff who launch efforts to destroy or hurt the very people whom they are charged to serve and protect.
The agency has become more of a law firm than anything else where licensees are unfairly constrained by a licensing system with ambiguous expectations and shaped for the benefit of just a few - the helpers or specific interest groups with radical leanings. The rest of us are reminded of how we involuntarily fund the very agency which has been, and still is, working hard at destroying our rights and liberties. Any semblance of a job well done has been downgraded by an agency which should not regulate what it can't understand in the first place. Here's just a little bit of what I've found out ....
PENDING - Read the details (button below) of the Civilian Action Suit to be Filed Against Kim Cassidy of Wallkill, New York, a NYSDEC "helper".
This unmistakable and inexcusable discrepancy between the treatment of two licensees - one who had licenses taken away and another who committed (and continues to do so as of January 2019) many violations; yet was still given a renewal of a license to rehabilitate wild animals ... with no enclosures outdoors and acceptable accommodations for the animals. There's even evidence uncovered recently to suggest that this person rehabilitated wildlife for years UNLICENSED about which the NYSDEC did nothing when it was stated in a letter of recommendation the person sent in when applying for a license. Instead, the DEC rewarded her years of unlicensed experience with a LICENSE!!!
No wonder she still keeps the wilds indoors in her house and pretty much does as she pleases .... it's because she can! A Citizen Action Suit will be filed so we can continue to do the DEC's job for them and implement equal protection under the law (aka no favoritism). Meanwhile, we hope to hear that the Inspector General will start an investigation, especially regarding the possibility of sexual misconduct between licensees like Cassidy and the officers in the field. There must be a reason why the vast majority of favorites, or helpers, are women and gay men.
Check out more about this person on another one of our independent web pages "Revealing the Rot" available by March 31, 2019.