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March 28, 2010 / Brooklyn news / Park Slope / Meadows of Shame

A duck is dead — and a swan wounded — in latest park tragedy

The Brooklyn Paper
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Swan down! Swan down!

The ongoing animal butchery and waterfowl fatalities that have mystified Prospect Park for two weeks nearly claimed a new victim on Friday, but animal rescuers saved one of the lake’s elegant white swans, John Boy, just in time.

The lethargic member of the Waltons clan of swans “was just sitting on the edge of the lake in the shallow water” in something of a feathery fetal position, said park-goer and swan lover, Susan Yuen, who called the city’s Center for Animal Care and Control.

“His beak was stuffed in his feathers,” Yuen continued. “His legs were in an odd position and his wings were kind of draped in the water. It was such odd behavior because John Boy is always the first one swimming up to you to get food.”

Fortunately, a team from the city’s Center for Animal Care and Control evacuated John Boy before his condition deteriorated.

“We did rescue [John Boy] at Prospect Park,” said Richard Gentles, a spokesman for Animal Care and Control. “It is still alive and is going to a licensed rehabilitator.”

The swan’s condition was no surprise to anyone who has watched with dismay what has been going on for the past two weeks on the lakefront.

First, the shoreline was covered with blood.

Then, disembodied turtle shells appeared.

Later, an entire area of reeds along the lakefront was burned to a crisp.

Next, chicken heads and animal entrails — too many, in fact, to be from just one beast — were dumped in and around the lakeshore.

As park-goers bemoaned the disgusting condition of the lake water itself, a duck died and John Boy was saved minutes before he, too, might have succumbed.

Still, there have been so many dead animals in recent days that the place looks like a pet cemetery, said regular park walker Ed Bahlman.

“Two dead opossums, one blackbird, the duck, one turtle and seven or eight dead fish — all in the vicinity of the entrails,” Bahlman said.

As a result of The Brooklyn Paper’s intense coverage, park officials now say that they’ll test the water. They also claim that the police have been notified of the bizarre fortnight of butchery.

Still, park officials are not concerned.

“Sick animals are pretty common after the long winter,” said Eugene Patron a Prospect Park spokesman. “It is very unlikely that the 60-acre watercourse, which is constantly flowing, is contaminated.”

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Reader Feedback

John from Ditmas Park says:
Well I'm glad that , at last, the Parks department is going to do
so testing. Better late than never.
Is there anything the police can do? cameras? patrols?
March 28, 2010, 7:13 am
Michele Sevik from Kensington says:
It is shocking and demoralizing to read that "the park officials are not concerned"! What kind of catastrophe does it take to incite concern in these park officials? Blood, corpses, entrails, dying waterfowl, decapitated birds, turtles ripped from their shells: what more is needed to illicit concern from those entrusted to take care of Brooklyn's most precious natural resource? A dog is found off-leash a few minutes past the 9 am deadline and the park hires undercover enforcement agents and sends them around in unmarked cars to deal with it; but the bloody destruction of the park's irreplaceable wildlife gets no reaction whatsoever! Now that's just stupid!
March 28, 2010, 9:01 am
bonita from lefferts garden says:
Come on park people...can we just clean up the mess on the south side of the lake? One day would be all it would take....Im sure people would even volunteer if it were organized. What is the problem?
March 28, 2010, 11:23 am
Rick from Windsor Terrace says:
It is important that the Parks Department protect the Prospect Park lake environment and wildlife habitat. The water in particular should be studied to see if the recent rash of animal parts dumping has affected the local ecology, endangering wild animals, pets and park goers.
March 28, 2010, 12:25 pm
Amparo from Park Slope says:
It is very irresponsible for park officials to be dragging their feet on an effective response to what should be considered illegal activity in the park. The park should not be used as a dumping ground for rotting animal parts. Not only does this gravely affect the park's inhabitants but it also affects the people who visit and enjoy the park; many of them children. Someone should be held accountable for the contamination being caused to the lake and at this point, due to their lack of response on these disturbing occurrences at the lake- it is the park officials.
March 28, 2010, 4 pm
Elke from Clinton Hill says:
I hope this ongoing coverage by the Brooklyn Paper will finally leave an impact on the Park Department officials. I am glad that they now agreed to have the water tested. Thanks to media coverage and first and foremost concearned park goers and park lovers lie Anne-Katrin Titze, Ed Bahlmann and Susan Yuen.
March 28, 2010, 4:01 pm
Harry from West Midwood says:
This happened back in the 1970's in the Park and I believe it was found to be some sort of Santeria rite. Check out this story in Los Angeles last year involving chicken decapitations: http://laist.com/2009/01/13/police_suspect_santeria_in_chicken.php

The problem with law enforcement and government is that everybody retires after 20 years nowadays. No institutional memory. Same with newspapers, although for this paper, which I dearly love, it's probably more like a year or two.
March 28, 2010, 4:16 pm
Sheila from PLG says:
I am glad that John Boy is being rehabilitated - I would like to know where this is being done and if we are able to contact this group directly as there seems to be an unbearable amount of apathy on the part of the parks department. Or is that apathy really nepotism? Corruption? What is it? How can there be two fires and not a thing done about it? How can the habitat not be thought of? Truly, there needs to be an investigation and employees, management needs to be held accountable - remember that word accountability? If you can't do the job - lose the job - park employees/management - you are hired to care for the park - that includes all flora and fauna.
March 28, 2010, 10:52 pm
Sean from Windsor Terrace says:
The first set fire at the lake was blazing in the afternoon, Thursday, March 11th.

The site has been turned into a garbage dump. The heavy rains continue to funnel much of the debris into the lake. Still the amount of trash left behind is staggering.

The park now has a second set fire over this past weekend lakeside.

The response is non-existent from those responsible at NYC Parks and Recreation for the care, health and safety of the lake.
March 29, 2010, 9:47 am
Sean from Windsor Terrace says:
The first set fire at the lake was blazing in the afternoon, Thursday, March 11th.

The site has been turned into a garbage dump. The heavy rains continue to funnel much of the debris into the lake. Still the amount of trash left behind is staggering.

The park now has a second set fire over this past weekend lakeside.

The response is non-existent from those responsible at NYC Parks and Recreation for the care, health and safety of the lake.
March 29, 2010, 9:48 am
Richie rich from parkslope says:
They should put security cameras in the park.
March 29, 2010, 11:18 am
Ron from Kensington says:
When will the Prospect Park Alliance care more for the visitors who come to the park, than their image?
You continue to be unable to see reality. The park's responses have been attempts to justify the harm being done and to excuse away their responsibility.
It is time for the Alliance to take action against those who are causing harm to our environment.
March 30, 2010, 9:48 am
CAROLINE from PARK SLOPE says:
This weekend, unsuspecting parents with their children are going to be playing around the lakeside.
The park's poorly conceived and thoughtless attempts at minimizing the deaths of animals in the lake, is adding to the problem.
The first response is: The press is making too big a deal out of it.
The second response is: We knew all along this was happening, no big deal.
The third response is: We are going to try to find out what is happening now, because the story won't go away.
The fourth response is: Don't ask us what was happening, because we feel the public has no right to know what is going on.
March 30, 2010, 10:21 am
John from Park Slope says:
Not only is illegal dumping going on, the park is also using the lake as a dump.
There is no clean up for months in and around the lake. The storms come and go, washing more and more trash into the lake.
This practice is inexcusable and is deliberate neglect by those who set policy inside the walls of Prospect Park.
The lake is also where garbage goes to die.
March 30, 2010, 10:58 am
Jess from WT says:
Read Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes' article about animal abuse in the NY Daily News 3/30/10. He encourages reporting animal abuse. His website is www.brooklynda.org. Maybe he can get something done about the sickening butchery at the lake.
March 31, 2010, 12:18 am
ed from PP says:
Duh, someone is poisoning the entrails. Police should set up a sting.
March 31, 2010, 7:38 am
Barbara from Clinton Hill says:
New York City's budget is partially to blame and the small percentage which is allocated for the NYC Park's Dept's Bklyn Div., and of course how that is managed. It seems o.k. for the Parks Dept. to allocate hundreds of thousands for large city pools, yet under-serve both Prospect Park and Fort Greene Park. One article said there was ONLY one policeman in Prospect Park. That is disgraceful and perhaps a demonstration is needed outside of Mayor Bloomberg's office and or the Park Commissioner Adrian Benepe's office. Bklyn has long suffered neglect for her Parks and often it is the NYC budget which lacks sufficient allocations for this borough and in this instance - clearly a lack of police protection within the Parks.
April 2, 2010, 10:32 pm

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