Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation (WINNOR) is a non-profit that rescues injured and sick wildlife in the New York City area. Among the animals they have saved are the offspring of Pale Male, the world famous Fifth Avenue Red Tail Hawk.
Despite being a state and federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator in operation for over a decade, the Town of Oyster Bay, Long Island is threatening to shut WINORR down.
Following alleged anonymous complaints from nearby property owners, town officials charged WINORR with keeping "dangerous animals" in a residential area in violation of town ordinance.
"Dangerous animals" like ducks, turkeys, owls hawks and baby foxes.
Tell Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto to drop all charges immediately and stop unfairly targeting WINORR in this suburban witch hunt.
We urge you to end to Oyster Bay's unfair targeting of the non-profit Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation (WINORR), and its directors Bobby and Cathy Horvath.
Despite being a state and federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator operating in the same location for over 10 years, last week - after alleged anonymous complaints - authorities charged WINORR with keeping "dangerous animals" in a residential area and ordered them to close their doors.
Nowhere in the statue the town claims the Horvaths violated is "residential area" mentioned. However, the ordinance does leave room for exceptions by stating that the code is applicable, "unless otherwise expressly stated or unless the context or subject matter requires otherwise." In this case the context and subject matter does require otherwise.
WINNOR has long been a key member of the community, filling an essential need by rescuing injured and sick wildlife in the Long Island and New York City area. Among the animals they have saved over the years are the offspring of Pale Male, the world famous Fifth Avenue Red Tail Hawk. Your own government even calls on them regularly for help.
This selective enforcement against WINORR is nothing more than a suburban witch hunt being carried out by authorities at the behest of petty individuals who do not have the larger community’s interests at heart. They do not even have the courage of their convictions to reveal their identity.
There are tens of thousands of us who have been willing to actually put our names to paper and want WINORR kept open.
We the undersigned ask for the following:
1) That any charges against WINORR and the Horvaths be dropped.
2) End the unfair targeting of WINORR, a valued community member of Oyster Bay and the larger tri-state area.
3) Lastly, permit the Horvaths to continue operating WINORR out of their home just as they have for over a decade.
We did it! Not long after delivering the petition with your signatures to Oyster Bay, NY Supervisor John Venditto, I got a message from the directors of WINORR - Bobby and Cathy Horvath - saying they will be allowed to continue rescuing and caring for wildlife at their current location.
It was the collective force of your support that pressured the town to negotiate and reach a compromise solution that works for both sides and sees all charges against the Horvaths dropped. You were even credited in an article in the New York Daily News today! http://tinyurl.com/bvjd9hb
Shortly after news of the compromise the Horvaths posted the following message on their Facebook page:
"We received great news today! Over the weekend Supervisor Venditto called me at home to discuss the situation and again yesterday as well and finally we were able to meet today to work out a solution. We have been granted permission to continue rehabbing wildlife with some adjustments which should benefit everyone involved. We will still be able to work from our home but will also look into alternative sites such as Tackapauasha Museum, our town animal shelter, or any other appropriate location to expand long term.
Cathy and are very happy and look forward to work with our town and all the other agencies we have served over the years. We appreciate John Venditto's acknowledgement of the important work we do and today his actions backed up what he has said to me over the past few days. We want to thank all the people who have publicly supported us starting with Robin Lynn and the petition she started on our behalf. I've never been involved in anything like this before and watched it start out and just grow and gain speed in no time at all. Thank you. And too all the others who took the time out on our behalf to show your support with an e mail, letter, or phone call including old friends and new, attorneys, rehabbers, rescue groups, and governmental agencies I also thank you. Over the years I've had more than my share of media coverage but this obviously was not the type of thing I would wish on anyone. We are glad its over, just want to be good neighbors and will strive to improve and continue to assist whenever and wherever we can."
I personally want to thank each and every one of you. You should be very proud of what has been accomplished. I'm certain things would have ended very differently were it not for you.
Keep up the great work. Look what you've accomplished!
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