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Scofflaw’s dog ends hen’s life


COPAKE—The people of Copake need to be protected and so do their chickens.

At the August 14 Town Board meeting Town Supervisor Jeanne Mettler brought up the issue of illegal parking on and along Underhill Road by people trying to access the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, which crosses the road.

The supervisor said she had heard from the executive director of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association (HVRTA)  that she received complaints about people parking on private property along the road and leaving their vehicles there while they use the rail trail.

Councilmember Terry Sullivan spoke up, saying the problem there was not just about parking—but about people trespassing on private property and walking their dogs off-leash along the trail.

She said one of these unrestrained canines killed a family’s chicken—and this was the third time it has happened.

As if the fowl’s violent demise wasn’t upsetting enough, Ms. Sullivan went on to say that the human, who was allegedly in charge of the dog, actually tried to flee the crime scene with the dog, which still had the chicken in its mouth.

“This family has kids … this was a traumatic thing to see,” said Councilmember Sullivan, noting that the chickens are raised to provide the family with fresh eggs. She calculated a year’s worth of eggs at $500.

“I think it’s egregious that he tried to sneak away without being seen,” she continued. “We need to build a wall or a fence—10 feet tall—to protect the people who live along the trail.” She said the license plate numbers of illegal parking offenders have been recorded.

Supervisor Mettler said the town and the HVRTA will erect signs. In a subsequent phone conversation with The Columbia Paper, she said the town will place “no parking” signs along Underhill Road for 650 feet on both sides of the trail crossing as recommended by Highway Superintendent Bill Gregory. She noted that parking on or along town roads is already illegal and so is trespassing. Ms. Mettler said the HVRTA signs will tell people where legal parking for the trail is available.

‘I think its egregious that he tried to sneak away without being seen.’

Councilmember Terry Sullivan

Copake Town of Copake

The supervisor also noted that the town does have a leash law and no dogs should be roaming around off-leash.

“Someone should be responsible for protecting residents who live along the trial,” said Ms. Sullivan.

In other Copake crime news, Copake Park and Recreation Commission Chairperson Liana Gaston told the board that the town’s mobile concession stand had been broken into.

Ms. Gaston, who is also deputy town clerk, was recording the meeting minutes for Town Clerk Lynn Connolly, who was out of town.

Ms. Gaston said park commission members who staff the stand were preparing to open it for a concert in the park when they noticed that the entry door had been damaged. Additionally, the flip-up window through which food is served was jimmied and propped open with some rocks so someone could reach in and swipe the candy kept there. She said the same thing happened two or three years ago.

Ms. Gaston said in the interest of protecting the equipment and supplies kept in the stand, the town should buy and install surveillance/security cameras to capture the culprits in the act.

Additional cameras are needed outside the bathrooms to surveil comings and goings since the bathrooms have been “trashed” in the past. A camera facing the driveway to record miscreants doing “doughnuts” was also suggested. It was noted that these cameras will need “night vision” since the perpetrators prefer to do their deeds under cover of darkness.

Particulars about the cameras will be researched by the park commission and discussed at the next meeting.

In other business the Town Board heard from numerous residents of County Route 7A between the Copake hamlet and West Copake, who recounted accidents and near accidents that have occurred due to an increase in the number of residents there, blind driveways and speeders.

The board passed a resolution to ask the State Department of Transportation for a speed limit reduction to 35 mph along that stretch of road. Also, the highway superintendent will look into the cost of mobile, electronic, flashing speed detection signs like the ones the Town of Ancram has purchased.

The next Copake Town Board meeting takes place September 9 at 7 p.m.

To contact Diane Valden email

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