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Blasdell animal trapping under fire

BLASDELL — The issue of trapping coyotes, as well as animals described as general pests of the neighborhood, was on the minds of both Blasdell officials and members of the local community at the Nov. 6 village board meeting.

What board members did not agree on was the differentiation of the trapping of coyotes versus other animals, including raccoons, possums and skunks.

It had been noted, during the board’s Oct. 16 meeting, that the village would be seeking the services of the Erie County Trappers Association, to help address the overflow of animals perceived as threats to the local community and environment.

Coyotes were described as being the prime source of concern, due to their increased presence in Blasdell. A permit was issued to a New York state-licensed member of the trappers association, as the individual was described by Blasdell Mayor Michael Petrie as someone who would be easily identifiable to residents.

The board said that, since that time, concern still exists about the coyotes’ presence, and Petrie acknowledged that such worries from residents could possibly include the spread of rabies and other undesirables.

During the board meeting, several residents agreed about the presence of pests nearby. Trustee Matt Chandler proposed a motion to cease setting traps that could be construed as ensnaring animals other than the targeted coyotes, citing the accumulated 15 raccoons, three possums and two skunks that have been indirectly caught, thus far in the process.

Village officials voted down the measure by 3 – 2, as Petrie, Deputy Mayor Lou McDonald and Trustee Kathy Seufert King cast dissenting votes. Chandler and Trustee Rob Hefner voted in favor of the resolution.

“[The raccoons, possums and skunks] were killed, and it went beyond the scope of the trapping,” Chandler said.

McDonald said that he opposed the resolution, after hearing residents express concerns about all pesky animals and their presence in Blasdell.

Valerie Will, who is the past president of Animal Advocates of Western New York, as well as the past director of WNY Urban Wildlife, said that there are other items that need to be known, in regard to the overall issue.

Will said that even trapping some alpha coyotes will not stop more female animals from breeding, with more males’ moving in to replace the captured coyotes. Rather than focusing on how to trap coyotes, she recommended that officials inform residents about how to tend to personal/food items in a manner that does invite animals.

In other board news:
– The board approved the technical retirement of Village Attorney James Shaw. It also approved the appointment of Shaw’s firm – Shaw Shaw, PC. – as village attorneys, through April 7. Shaw, who had served as the village attorney since 1997, will continue working in a legal capacity, but will not be part of Blasdell’s pension system.

– The board unanimously approved amending part of the village code that includes overnight parking ban parameters. The fine structure will now include a $30 fine within 10 days of the infraction committed by parking violators, to go along with a $50 fine if the offense is not paid for, within the mentioned 10 days. Shaw said that the amendment helps update antiquated wording written in the code from long ago.

– Blasdell Police Lieutenant Joseph Gramaglia said that past weekend patrol resulted in the village’s 36th arrest for driving while intoxicated, this year. Gramaglia added that Blasdell had 24 DWI arrests for all of 2012, marking an increase, this year. Police patrols had been put on alert for drunk drivers during and after Buffalo Bills home games.

“It’s unfortunate, but our officers are out there making the [DWI] arrests,” Gramaglia said.

–The board approved a year-long permit extension to allow Laura Errington and her family to house and raise chickens at their Lake Avenue residence. Errington’s family had originally been granted a permit to house the chickens through October; she showed the board her neighbors’ written support of her continued endeavor. Petrie, McDonald and Seufert King voted in favor of the resolution, while Chandler and Hefner voted against the measure. The same voting result had occurred when the village board granted the Errington’s initial request to raise the chickens.

– The board agreed to change the terms of Blasdell’s fire chief and first assistant chief to one year, from the preexisting two-year slate.

– Jeff Luke was approved to participate as an active member of the Hamburg Water Rescue Response Team.

The next meeting of the Blasdell Village Board will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 20 in the village municipal building.

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