Wildlife Rescue Center Fights DEC

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A white tailed deer fawn was spotted taking cover near a hedge on a property in Bridgehampton recently.
A white tailed deer fawn was spotted taking cover near a hedge on a property in Bridgehampton recently.

The Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center, Inc., of Hampton Bays has announced that it has filed suit, seeking to prevent the state Department of Environmental Conservation from enforcing new rules that prohibit it and wildlife rehabilitators from transporting, caring for, and rehabilitating adult white tailed deer.

The wildlife rescue center said the DEC announced the rule change without public comment or advance notice. The DEC issues licenses to the rescue centers, allowing rehabilitators to possess wildlife in order to rehabilitate them and return them to the wild.

Under the new rules, which went into effect in February but have not been enforced, the DEC has required the center to release a severely injured deer that is incapable of surviving on its own — or euthanize it. The center is also prohibited from accepting for treatment any seriously injured adult white tailed deer. This means police can no longer contact wildlife rehabilitators if a deer is hurt, and must shoot the deer on site. The center is still allowed to accept fawns for treatment, but they must be released by September 15.

The center filed suit on May 12, and has received a temporary restraining order prohibiting the DEC from enforcing its new rules.. The matter has been adjourned until June 14 by New York State Supreme Court Justice Robert F. Quinlan in Riverhead.

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