Neighborhood Stunned As DEC Shoots Swans

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Mornings on Black River Bay are typically tranquil. 

But Tuesday morning, the quiet of the neighborhood was shattered by gunfire and death.

Local resident Barbara Hearne saw a "strange boat" and immediately thought it was going to chase the swans in the bay.

"All of a sudden, it was 'kaboom' and, I mean, I was about hysterical seeing them kill that swan," she said.

"I heard the gunshots...I looked out and I saw them - the one dead swan and then shooting at other that was flying away," said local resident Kelli Ritz.

Jim Hearne and neighbor Charlie Trump went after the shooters thinking they were poachers. 

It it turned out to be three state Department of Environmental Conservation workers in an unmarked boat.

"DEC was carrying out a long-standing protocol to manage this invasive species that threatens other species in this sensitive habitat," the DEC said in a prepared statement.

They were carrying out what the DEC calls a long standing protocol to manage this invasive species.

"It was just bad.  Bad.  The whole situation was bad," said Jim Hearne.

Local residents said there were four baby swans and they worry they won't survive.

The DEC is now re-evaluating its Mute Swan Management Plan based on public comments. 

Friday, October 31, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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