Mohegan Lake Legal Defense Fund

History of this site

This site was originally set up to fight 3 of 5 zoning variances proposed by the FBC development at Sagamore Trail and Mohegan Ave that eliminates two single family homes while nearly quadrupling the parking and occupancy loads of the old Lakeland Jewish Center. That effort failed and the application is currently before the Planning Board.

While Save Mohegan Lake will continue to update you on that issue, we are moving on to all issues affecting the lake, such as Mohegan Lake Improvement District (MLID) meetings, agenda and budget. This site is not an official mouthpiece for MLID, but some updates will be provided on this site; the official site is located here.

We do it all here, so long as it's Mohegan Lake related. Feel free to submit comments, content, garage sale notices, police blotters, PSA's, essays on the virtues of our 105 acre ice rink, rants, raves, etc... We love it all.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Protect Our Turtles Mohegan Lake

Mrs. Johnson was the guest speaker at Mohegan Lake day last year. I'd like to share her message, below. Mohegan Lake is probably one of the top 3 turtle sanctuaries in Westchester.  We should be proud of that.

Dear Turtle Supporter, 

If you have a few moments, could you give these assemblymen a call. Also, please forward this to any list or individuals you think would be interested. 
Thanks! - Patricia

A  destructive bill legalizing the capture and killing of snapping turtles by trapping is speeding through the  NYS Legislature  Snapping turtles are already permitted to be killed by gun and longbow and therefore recreational and commercial trapping will dramatically increase the number of  these turtles deaths. A devastating blow to these  vulnerable animals.   The bill has passed the Senate is and  is currently in the Assembly Codes Committee. This proposed legislation is cruel and scientifically wrong.  It is not based on any proven science regarding snapping turtles, or any turtle species.  

Would you please make a 30 second call ( simply leave a message with the receptionist)   and/or   email  to the following legislators.  

1.       Assembly Speaker  Sheldon Silver -  phone (518) 455- 3791.        email -    ,

2.       Assemblyman Lentol, Chair of Codes, -  phone  (518)  455-4100    email-

1.    Ask them to please to use their position of Chair and Speaker in the Assembly to  Defeat Bill A2490  which legalizes the capture and killing of snapping turtles by trapping.

2.    Leave your name and ask that you be contacted regarding the action taken  

If you have time you may wish to add  the following points:

1. Suggesting that one can capture a snapping turtle by hand, should be considered dangerous and a public safety hazard. 

2. The flesh of snapping turtles is tainted with toxins.  This is a public health issue. 

3. Spearing, hooking, and clubbing such a large animal is torturous and inhumane. 


4.    Non- intended endangered and threatened species of turtles will be captured and killed if this bill if passed. Ie:the  Endangered Bog Turtle and  the Threatened  Blanding’s turtle.  

5.    Turtles are already  vulnerable to an existing  multitude of threats such as loss of habitat,  mortality rates of pregnant females crossing roadways, high  hatchling  death rates etc. Killing snapping turtles by traps will only increase their population loss. They need to be protected, not killed.

Here is a copy of my letter 

Dear Speaker Silver, 

I am writing in hopes that you will do everything in your power to prevent Bill A2490, which legalizes the capture and killing of snapping turtles by trapping and other means, from becoming law.

Subsections 20-21 are extremely alarming. 
SNAPPING TURTLES may also be taken by spearing, catching
   21  with the hands, or by the use of a club or hook

It is foolhardy as a matter of public-health policy to encourage people to obtain snapping turtles by "catching with the hands." While normally very passive and vulnerable, a snapping turtle's only defense is it's powerful snap, which can cause major injuries, if not permanent maiming. Why encourage the public to take such risks? 

With regard to "spearing" or "the use of club, or hook", these are inhumane means of capture and should not be under consideration. Killing a snapping turtle by these methods will take hours, if not days, and cause severe pain and suffering to the animal. Moreover, these subsections reveal that this bill was not drafted with any knowledge or understanding of snapping turtle biology and behavior. 

Our State reptile has existed unchanged for 90 million years and once walked with the dinosaurs. These animals do not reach sexual maturity until 12 years of age and there is a documented case of a common snapping turtle living to be over 130 years. (Biology of the Snapping Turtle, Gibbons.) Every reproductive female is vital to maintaining a stable population. With such reproductive fragility, a small reduction could easily spiral snapping turtles into extinction. The claim that harvesting of individuals is sustainable is outdated and is not supported by scientific study. They are in need of more protection, not less.  

Traps do not discriminate and there will always be by-catch and incidental kills. (see page 26 of the US Fish and Wildlife presentation This practice will stress the already fragile populations of New York's native turtles, such as the endangered Eastern mud and Federally listed bog turtle. Also impacted will be the threatened Blandings turtle, as well as the Eastern box turtle, wood turtle, spiny softshell and spotted turtle, which are species of special concern. Map and painted turtles and the diamondback terrapin will experience unsustainable takes as well. 

By allowing trapping, you will render this state resource vulnerable to the insatiable appetite of the International food trade. 

In the Unitied States alone, the annual trade of wild-caught amphibians and reptiles includes millions of individuals. During 1998-2002, the United States exported 26 million wild-caught reptiles (Herpetology, by Vitt and Caldwell.) Many foreign countries have hunted their indigenous turtles to near or complete extinction and are now fueling the increasing demands by importing turtles from the United States. Once one species is extirpated, the focus simply moves on to another species for exploitation. This should not be the fate of New York's majestic snapper. 

Please see page 31 of the report on Operation Shellshock by the US Fish and Wildlife on an illegal poaching operation in New York. They confiscated over 2,000 pounds of snapping turtles illegally poached. 

If trapping were to be made legal, by-catches and incidental takes would only grow, as non-permitted trapping will still take place. This Act will impede the ability of authorities to control clandestine illegal trapping, since this can easily take place under the guise of permitted activity. It will also create a cloak under which poaching (for food and the illegal pet trade) of other species can go undetected, as a classic smuggling technique is to include endangered and threatened species among legal shipments (Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery.)

The justification pertaining to "nuisance snapping turtles" is deceptive at best, there are already existing legal mechanisms (law enforcement, animal control and other licensed individuals) for dealing with nuisance animals of any kind. Unmolested snapping turtles are docile. 

Please contact me regarding any action taken. 

Patricia S Johnson
NY State licensed wildlife rehabilitator #1337

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