Riverhead Police chief: Raccoon clubbing to stop

05/04/2011 3:24 PM |

With the arrival of a carbon dioxide euthanasia chamber, Riverhead’s animal control personnel will halt the practice of clubbing sick raccoons to death, Police Chief David Hegermiller told the News-Review Tuesday in immediate response to public complaints from animal rights activists at a Town Board meeting.

Both the clubbing practice and the carbon dioxide chamber were brought up at the 2 p.m. meeting by Sue Hansen, a former Riverhead Animal Shelter volunteer and outspoken critic of the town’s animal control practices.

In response to Ms. Hansen’s question, Councilman Jim Wooten said he’d been alerted to the fact that sick raccoons were being clubbed and had looked into the matter. He said he learned that the county Department of Health Services does list clubbing as an acceptable method of killing sick wildlife, but that a carbon monoxide chamber was preferred.

Neither approach sat well with some animal lovers.

“Killing is not the way to be dealing with this,” said resident Sandra Mott, who said she has rescued sick animals herself. “There’s got to be a different solution.”

Ms. Mott had just told the Town Board that embattled animal control officer Lou Coronesi has always been nice to her.

After hearing about the clubbing, she said, “I withdraw my comment.”

“State law says you don’t have to kill every raccoon that comes in,” said Connie Farr of Calverton, who was part of a group of residents who recently called for a district attorney investigation into the town’s animal control practices — and for Mr. Coronesi’s dismissal.

Chief Hegermiller told a reporter after the meeting that if a wild animal is sick, the town has no other option but to kill it. Sick raccoons that are killed are then sent to the state Department of Environmental Conservation for evaluation, he said.

“We had one recently that was hit by a car and then bit someone,” he said.

Shooting the animals is not recommended because you don’t want the blood to splatter if they are diseased, he explained.

The town purchased the carbon dioxide unit within the past two weeks, he said, and once it’s up and running will no longer club sick wildlife.

Mr. Wooten said the town is building the chamber and is awaiting the delivery of the CO2 unit, which he said costs about $30 to $40. He said he first heard about the clubbing practice from Gail Waller, the Glen Cove woman who has donated money to help animals in the Riverhead shelter and who has been critical of shelter practices.

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36 Comment

  • Is “clubbing” an option for members of the Town council?

  • Is clubbing an option for overly zealous animal lovers who care more for animals than humans?

  • As most readers of these blogs have been doing, I have been following the news about the Riverhead Animal Shelter. At first I thought that the activists seemed a little extreme. After all, we are talking about animals here, not human beings. However, the fact that clubbing a animal to death is an acceptable method of dealing with a sick animal is just too much for the mind to comprehend. I can’t even believe that would be a legal practice. The chamber only cost $40.00 and we are just getting one now??? SHAME ON THE TOWN for a barbaric practice, and kudos to all the animal lovers who give freely of their time and speak for those who have no voice.

  • never seen one for 40 and yes the dec say clubbing what do you think trappers do pay to have them put down or release them so they can infect others i do agree has to be a better way but the shelter staff is in trouble for spend money on sick or hurt cats so they can’t win.
    and just for the record iam not a fan of the aco but can’t let thing go out with out the hole story

  • Shooting them is humane and cheap. State law says that raccoons cannot be trapped and released elsewhere.

  • I have no experience with euthanizing animals, but wouldn’t clubbing an animal to death result in more blood splatter than shooting it?

    I can’t believe no one came up with an alternative to this practice earlier.

  • I think we should hear from the clubber… How does he/she feel ?

  • well thank god for small favors…clubbing? really! and does that not spatter blood???

  • @Emton
    Excellent point about splattering.
    And about an alternative.
    (Are you new in Riverhead?)

  • The CO2 is $40…but apparently Raccoons are a problem out there!!!! I have a friend who says he can have five in his yard at any one time…ever get one in your attick? They will chew through the wood framing of your house to get in and then chew your electrical wires, crap all over the place…have their babies and so on….I’m not saying they should be clubbed to death (I think that’s cruel) but it’s definitely a problem that needs to be dealt with!

  • I am in total agreement with Tom Marron. It is unacceptable and disgusting that there is not bathroom access at Veteran’s Beach where they have that beautiful, but unused building. The porta-potty is not acceptable.

  • I also went to Veteran’s Beach this past weekend. The beack was packed with people and the playground was filled with children. Where do they expect people to go to the bathroom? The porta-potty was disgusting to say the least. My children would not use it, and I couldn’t blame them. So we went home. It was a short day!

  • Judging from Mr. Meinke’s letter, it sounds like the local Democrats have adopted the same policy as the national ones – call Republicans mean names (blast, illogic, heaping trouble) and mischaracterize their policies. Its really all they’ve got when it comes to discussing economics, what with the complete and utter failure of this party to slow this recession. I mean they have even failed to produce a national budget for over TWO years, even though they are required by law to do so. But they are lucky the national media lets them off the hook on that one. And for the trillions in new spending they have rung up. For one of their apparatchiks, Mr. Meinke, to lecture us on fiscal discipline is truly bizaare. The facts are that democrats have run up spending faster and higher than at any time since WWII and are going to surpass that. They have failed to produce a budget for 2 years, and are just spending as they go. As for a $5bn tax benefit to oil companies, it’s peanuts in the trillion $$ plus deficits they’ve rung up. And for farm subsidies, he’s wrong – the Paul Ryan plan would cut them by $30bn. AND, Democrats are just in favor of keeping them as some Republicans who are not true to their ideals. He also tries to take entitlement spending out of the picture. Folks, that is kicking the can down the road, because that spending is WAY bigger than everything else and is going to break the U.S. By ignoring it, they are truly acting criminally. So, yes, as he says, lets pay attention to these issues. But I just don’t think that’ll turn out the way Mr. Meinke wants it to.

  • What beach in Suffolk Co. has a bathroom? The bathroom at the community center is for the center and people who use the building for certain functions. Get real, I lived on L.I. for over 40 years and we didn’t have a bathroom or a porta-potty like the one at Veteran’s Beach. Count you blessings that you have at least a porta-potty their!

  • PEOPLE…. why does the ST give John Copertino this forum to speak his mind every week? Every week he gets his letter in print. I am sure there must be other letters from community members that deserve some ink.

    Sure he has freedom of speech, but please… can we have the freedom to read a suffolk times paper or online content without seing this guy rant. It was old four weeks ago. All it does is bring down the “journalistic integrity” of the suffolk times.

    May this please be the last time you guys print this guys rants. If he really gave two ounces of sweat wouldn’t he be doing more than just sending in letters to the suffolk times? John, i never met you. But please let the next time i see your name in print it is that you are running for public office or that you won a hot dog eating contest.

    Thanks,Marc Lamaina

  • Iron Pier has a bathroom. So does the Jamesport town beach.

  • hey if your upset because your neighbors are on to your little scam with property codes thank the owners of the kaplan market jeff and jill gordon aka carstan aka dunne aka reich and add in abatelli and wingate who try to make it up as they go and well you get whatyou deserve this is 11 years into this mess and they once again through kapell think they will scam a new owner into buying it and me into allowing the the law to be broken because it will have new owners well it wont happen on kaplan ave ever but its a fight we will have to continueso until the marketis removed as well as to corrupt officials good luck cause i will personaly squash you and anyone else until i am made whole again period this message braught to you by out of town owners that thought our home was thier personal piggy bank and two local officials that cant even keep up thier certifications

  • you cant be this stupid

  • I’ve livind in Mattituck by entire life. There has been a bathroom at Vet’s Beach for as long as I can remember!

  • 98% of the small minded fools on the right never served in the military hence they seem to think they know everything from combat to whats best for you to believe. dont ignore them but pay attention and educate your kids so they dont grow up to be as pathetic morons want them too andwe will beall right

  • “The charges against me are patently false”

    Ms. Miller, that is a lot of indignation for someone who is OPENLY violating Village code by renting more than the allowed number of rooms. Perhaps you’ve forgotten that the wedding portion of your neighbor’s concerns was only part of your disregard for village law.

  • All of the town beaches in Huntington (at least 5 beaches I can recall) have clean, open restrooms — they also have lifeguards and a beach manager.

  • Mark, it seems to me that the ST prints all letters it receives, which is not a bad policy. I hope they don’t start selecting letters to print, because then you’ll just hear the viewpoints of the editors and not the community.

  • Indeed, if you go to her website today she rents 5 rooms in the main house and a cottage. That makes 6 rooms on a 3 room variance. Didn’t she stand before the board of trustees and say she rents 4 rooms? Well which is it…4, 5, 6? What does the village plan to do to enforce it’s codes?

  • It appears that Ms. Miller and another B&B owner in Greenport Village can’t see the forest through the trees they don’t feel that they are being intrusive to neighbors after they take their vehicles out of their private driveway and put them on a public street and congest the area and still feel they’re being neighborly. This is a small incorporated village with limited parking as it is and an addition of cars brings bigger headaches. You may not think so but you are operating a business in a residential area and these are not preexisting uses they were created and in someways not for the better of the entire community. I also didn’t realize that you could have a bar to serve the public in a private home, these applications land in the lap of the Incorporated Village of Greenport and I hope they act properly when it comes to the decision making. Ms Miller didn’t stick around for the entire Village meeting or she would have heard more comments from dissatisfied neighbors. I don’t think it matters who owns the road in legal terms it’s referred to as a “right of way”, Right of way is a term first used to describe the right to travel unhindered, to access a route regardless of land ownership or any other legality.

  • face it until abatelli and wingate are fired village code will only be applied to those that do not bribe them they will like with the kaplan market accept fraudulent legal documents and do the falsefication themselves

  • John and George,

    Tell your doctors you probably need to take some time off.

    Have a nice day!

  • 5 billion may be peanuts to you and the FOX Zombies but in case you haven’t noticed the oil companies don’t need it.
    Attack the Dems? When Bush took office there was a SURPLUS, the Trade Centers were still intact, we weren’t bleeding money in Iraq and the banks hadn’t taken us to the cleaners.

  • copertino is not a vet and is obviously an el duce backer pitty him for his wife must beat him regulerly teach your kids to read and they will not grow up to be such a loser and remind him there are countrys that canaccomadate his ilk oh wait we are bombing most of them so i gues we are stuck with this coward til after that is done pitty i would pay his air fare now to send him home

  • It isn’t a bad policy. It’s curious though, as to why, but more importantly WHO is deciding which comments to “flag” and then delete from these message boards.

    I read Marcus’ original comment and see no reason as to why it’s no longer visible.

  • The big difference, perhaps understated in Meinke’s retort, is where the tax money comes from. If you’re anywhere close to an average American’s tax bracket, then presumably you’d think tax cuts for the rich is the way to go. You’d be a fool to buy the bullshit “trickle down” absurdity.

    And 8 years of irresponsible, economic neglect is a tricky situation for anyone to clean up. Even a Kenyan with no US birth certificate. Considering where we might have wound up, I’d say the Obama administration is doing a fine job.

  • Please repost the original comment.

    Suffolk Times – If you’re going to allow comments, please maintain journalistic integrity. You should be the first to stand up for someone’s right to say something, especially if you don’t agree with it.

  • Go to a different beach.

  • Ms. Miller,
    Your web site speaks for it self, so give up the ” why is everyone picking on me” act.
    I commend you for your community service but it doesn’t entitle you to “special treatment”.
    The code allows 3 rooms you advertise 5 and a honeymoon cottage, that’s in violation of the code.


  • Ms. Miller,
    Your web site speaks for it self, so give up the ” why is everyone picking on me” act.
    I commend you for your community service but it doesn’t entitle you to “special treatment”.
    The code allows 3 rooms you advertise 5 and a honeymoon cottage, that’s in violation of the code.


    Please people check it out and see for yourself…….I’m just astounded at the audacity of this woman!

  • That is just amazing! Her website clearly shows 5 rooms available and advertises that she does weddings to accomodate up to 80 people. Did she forget about this thing called the internet? Anyone can look you up, especially if you create your own website.