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Attack

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Sasha and Wookie enjoying their years in Setauket. Photo by Holly Leffhalm.

Two large German shepherd dogs attacked and killed a pet alpaca and severely injured a llama in a pen at the back of a home on Main Street in Setauket Feb. 5. It happened at about 2 a.m., according to Bob Ingram, a neighbor who witnessed the aftermath and found the dogs still at the scene.

“I heard barking coming from the pen,” the next-door neighbor Ingram said. “It was pitch black out and the barking was aggressive. Then I heard a shrill sound and knew one of the llamas was in distress.”

He drove his car onto the grass, toward the pen where he saw the two black-and-brown dogs menacing the llama. It was barely 10 minutes from the time he was awakened to the time he viewed the scene, he said. Ingram said he honked the horn, but the dogs just ignored it. Finally, he rolled down the car window and yelled and the dogs took off. Ingram called 911 and awaited police response. Upon arrival, an officer determined it necessary to euthanize the surviving animal.    

The animals, 17-year-old Sasha the llama and Wookie, the alpaca, rescued eight years ago by Kerri Glynn, were beloved by many in the neighborhood.

“Llamas are such lovely animals,” Glynn said. “There’s not an aggressive bone in their bodies. We’d let them out [of the pen] in the backyard and they would never leave the property. They were the easiest animals to care for that I’ve ever owned.”

Ingram reached out on social media to alert Three Village residents of the danger posed by the dogs. The pen abuts the field at Setauket Elementary School, so he called to alert administrators there. He called his veterinarian, to spread the word.

In the wake of vicious maulings in Brookhaven Town last summer, the board unanimously approved a new policy Jan. 24, effective immediately,  intended to keep a tighter leash on dangerous dogs and their owners.

“If there’s a message tonight, it’s to dog owners: Watch your dogs, protect them … and be a responsible owner … if you’re not, the town is putting things in place as a deterrent,” Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said at the meeting.

Under the new town code amendment, which reflects stricter state law for dealing with “dangerous dogs,” the definition has been expanded to include not just dogs that attack people, as the code was previously written, but other pets or service animals as well.

Now the town, or the person attacked, can present evidence with regard to an attack before a judge or local animal control officers.

Owners of a dog deemed dangerous, who do not properly house their pets, will face large fines. A first-time offender of dog attacks will now pay $500 as opposed to a previous fine of $100; third-time offenders will pay up to $1,000 and must keep their dogs leashed, and in some cases, muzzled, when out in public.

After the Sunday attack, on social media people who travel along Mud Road, Quaker Path and Christian Avenue reported sightings of the two dogs dating back to January.

Save-a-Pet founder Dori Scofield said she had not received any calls about the dogs at either Save-a-Pet or Guardians of Rescue.

“German shepherds are super smart dogs,” Scofield said. “They’re going back to where they’re from.”

Area searches done since Sunday by local residents have not located the dogs.

Roy Gross, who heads the Suffolk County SPCA, said the organization had no knowledge of the Sunday morning incident.

Gross recommended a course of action should anyone see the dogs.

“Do not approach the dogs,” he said. “Dial 911 immediately, tell them you’ve sighted dogs matching the description of the ones that killed the pets on Main Street in Setauket, and give the location. If you are driving and can safely see where the dogs go, do so. A second call should be made to Brookhaven Animal Shelter (631-286-4940) to inform them of the location.”

He also gave advice to pet owners in the area.

“All animal owners should keep tabs on them — do not leave them out alone unattended,” he said, adding that is always good policy.

Ingram said he was devastated by the loss.

“I know these llamas really well,” he said. “They’ve been to my children’s birthday parties. Sasha was here when I moved in … [Those dogs] really scared me. A single person couldn’t handle those two dogs.”

Additional reporting by Kevin Redding.

Expensive tastes
On Sept. 11, Suffolk County police arrested a 25-year-old woman from Bellport and charged her with petit larceny. Cops said on May 19 she stole six Prada and seven Versace sunglasses from Macy’s in Smith Haven Mall in Smithtown. On April 10 they said she stole various items from Victoria’s Secret in the mall. She was arrested at the 3rd Precinct at 3 p.m.

Charging through
Cops arrested a 34-year-old man from Commack on Sept. 9 for intentionally driving a 2013 Toyota Corolla into a framed metal outdoor canopy at 60 Veterans Highway in Commack on Aug. 26 at 4:45 a.m. He was arrested at the 4th precinct at 9:10 a.m. and charged with third-degree criminal mischief for property damage valuing less than $250.

Sunglasses saboteur sacked
Police arrested a 30-year-old woman from East Patchogue on Sept. 9 at the 4th Precinct at around 8 p.m. and charged her with third-degree grand larceny for previous incidents. On June 11 at 5:45 p.m. cops said she stole six pairs of Prada, three pairs of Bulgari and one pair of Tiffany sunglasses from Macy’s in Smith Haven Mall. On May 19 at 8:11 p.m., she stole six Prada and seven Versace pairs of sunglasses at Macy’s.

Unlicensed driving
A 55-year-old man from East Farmingdale was arrested on Sept. 9 and charged with grand larceny in the third degree. Cops said he was driving a Ford F-150 on Smithtown Boulevard in Nesconset at 6:30 p.m. with a revoked or suspended license. He also stole a 2003 Keystone trailer at 6:30 p.m. on July 26.

I’m just a teenage dirtbag, baby
On Sept. 12 a pair of Commack teens were arrested and charged with petit larceny. Cops said a 17-year-old man and a 16-year-old woman were arrested at 4:05 p.m. for stealing assorted merchandise from a Walmart in Commack.

Card thief caught
Cops arrested a 50-year-old Central Islip woman on Sept. 13 and charged her with petit larceny for using someone else’s debit card to withdraw money on multiple occasions. Police said the first incident was on July 15 at 1:50 p.m. and the second was on July 20 at 1:48 p.m. She was arrested at 11:05 p.m. at the 4th Precinct.

Bling begone
Two residents from Terri Drive in Smithtown reported a stolen engagement ring and band from their home between 1:30 and 2 p.m. on Sept. 11.

Home ransacked
An unknown person entered a home on Maplelawn Drive in Smithtown and stole assorted items including computers, necklaces, rings, perfumes and colognes between 3 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Sept. 11.

Uphill battle
Police pulled over a 59-year-old Setauket man who was speeding down Route 25A near The Hills Drive in a 2006 Ford on Sept. 13 to find he was intoxicated. He was arrested for driving while ability impaired. It was the man’s first offense.

No toking for you
A 19-year-old man from Miller Place was arrested on Sept. 10 for selling tobacco to a minor. Police said the incident happened on Route 25A in Port Jefferson Station.

Diamond in the rough
On Sept. 13 police arrested a 29-year-old man from Port Jefferson Station for criminal contempt. Police said the man went into the Kohl’s in East Setauket and stole jewelry.

Welcome home
Around 5:45 a.m. on Sept. 12, a 27-year-old man from Brookhaven in a 2002 Ford drove into a house on Michael Court in Centereach. The man was driving while ability impaired and police arrested him at the scene of the crash.

Hit-and-run times two
Police said a 19-year-old female from Farmingdale was arrested for leaving the scene of a Sept. 12 car crash, after the woman was driving along Portion Road in Ronkonkoma and hit two vehicles before fleeing the scene. Police arrested her soon afterward on Route 25A in Selden.

No paz here
A 36-year-old Pennsylvania man was arrested on Main Street in Port Jefferson on Sept. 11 around 4:54 a.m. for criminal mischief, after police said the man broke a window at La Paz restaurant. Police said the defendant is the same man who was found in possession of cocaine and threatened a group of people with a razor blade the day before, but a police spokesperson was unsure if he was arrested that day for criminal possession of a controlled substance and menacing, as it was not documented.

Electrical enthusiast
On Sept. 10, police arrested a 35-year-old man and a 26-year-old man from East Patchogue. They were each charged with petit larceny — the older man after stealing electrical switches and wall plates from the Lowe’s Home Improvement store on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook, and the younger man when he tried to return the stolen merchandise to the store.

Petrus pants
Police said an unidentified man took a bottle of Petrus Bordeaux wine from Hamlet Wines & Liquors store in East Setauket on Sept. 12, putting the bottle down his pants and fleeing the store on foot.

Unique break
Police said an unknown person broke the front window of Unique Cleaners in Miller Place on Sept. 10 at 4:31 a.m. Nothing was stolen from the store.

Denny’s disappearance
Around 1 a.m. on Sept. 12 a woman reported that she had lost her handbag at the Denny’s in Centereach Mall. The handbag contained jewelry and money.

Disturber of the peace
On Sept. 10 around 4:45 a.m., a man reported that an unknown person had stolen money from his 2013 Toyota, located on Peace Court in Selden.

Giving and taking
Between Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. and Sept. 11 at 8:30 a.m., an unknown person broke into a clothing donation bin and stole clothes. Police said the door of the bin, in a parking lot near Nesconset Highway in Port Jefferson Station, was broken.

Vehicle violation
A woman reported that a rear window on a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban was vandalized on Sept. 13 around 2 a.m. on Maple Road in Rocky Point.

Making a dry clean getaway
Police said an unknown person broke into a dry cleaner on North Country Road in Mount Sinai. The person threw a rock on Sept. 12 at 5 p.m. and broke the front window of the business and stole cash.

Phony caller
An unidentified person on Hearthside Drive in Mount Sinai received a phone call from a scammer on Sept. 8. The person who called the victim wanted money but it was unclear what for.

Roll credits
On Sept. 12 a man and a woman reported that a pocketbook, which contained a Social Security card, was taken from a 2009 Dodge Charger. Clothes were also stolen from the car. Police said the car was parked in the AMC Loews movie theater parking lot on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook.

One man plus one man equals oh man
Two 22-year-old men were arrested in front of the Paramount in Huntington on Sept.11 for engaging in a fistfight on a public sidewalk, within ten minutes of each other. One man, from Huntington Station, resisted arrest when he was commanded by officers to stop fighting and then refused to place his hands behind his back. He was also found to have marijuana in his possession. He was charged with disorderly conduct, fighting and violent behavior at 11:20 p.m. The other man, from Mastic Beach, punched and wrestled with officers and fled the scene on foot for a short time until police caught up to him. He was arrested at 11:29 p.m. and charged with disorderly conduct, fighting, engaging in violent behavior, and intent to cause physical injury to a police officer.

Slice, slice baby
Police arrested a homeless man on Sept. 12 at 156 Depot Road in Huntington Station for attacking a man with a knife. The man suffered lacerations on his neck and required medical attention at 5:05 p.m., and the attacker was arrested a short time later. The man was charged for assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon.

Don’t take me out to the ball game
A 21-year-old man from Huntington Station was arrested on Sept. 11 for an incident police said occurred earlier. On Sept. 6 at 4:10 a.m. on Broadway and Biltmore Circle in Huntington Station cops said he struck a man multiple times with a baseball bat and the victim was taken to Huntington Hospital. He also slashed a second man with a knife. The assailant was charged with assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon.

Drive-through
At 7:40 p.m. on Sept. 11, a 26-year-old woman from Huntington Station was arrested for causing damage with her vehicle. She was driving a 2006 Nissan Altima on New York Avenue in Huntington when she struck a parked 2002 Lexus that was unattended. She failed to stop afterwards and was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and property damage.

Someone’s not on Nationwide’s side
At Nationwide Insurance on High Street in Huntington on Sept. 10, an unknown person entered the location at 4:00 p.m. and stole two payroll checks.

North Shore natives travel to Washington with hopes of swaying lawmakers to renew health care benefits

John Feal speaks at the September 11 memorial ceremony in Commack last week. Photo by Brenda Lentsch

The 9/11 first responders who have fought for years to get health care support are heading back to Washington, D.C., in hopes of ushering in the renewal of the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act. And for one Nesconset resident, change cannot come soon enough.

Parts of the bill will expire next month, and other parts in October 2016.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act would extend the programs of the original Zadroga act indefinitely. It was introduced to Congress in April and currently has 150 bipartisan co-sponsors.

“When this bill expires, our illnesses do not expire,” said John Feal, founder of the FealGood Foundation, in a phone interview. Feal, of Nesconset, has been walking the halls of Congress for the past eight years to help get this bill passed.

He is also a 9/11 first responder who worked on the reconstruction at Ground Zero, and lost half of his foot in the process. He suffered from gangrene, but he says his injuries “pale in comparison to other first responders.”

President Barack Obama signed the current Zadroga act into law in 2011 and established the World Trade Center Health Program, which will expire in October if not renewed.

The WTC program ensured that those whose health was affected by 9/11 would receive monitoring and treatment services for their health-related problems. It consists of a responder program for rescue and recovery workers and New York City firefighters, and a survivor program for those who lived, worked or went to school in lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Zadroga act also reopened the September 11th Victims Compensation Act, which allows for anyone affected to file claims for economic losses due to physical harm or death caused by 9/11. That will expire in October of next year.

Feal said he was asked by television personality Jon Stewart to come on “The Daily Show” in December 2010, but the Nesconset native said he did not want to leave the real legislative fight in D.C. Instead, he helped get four 9/11 responders to the Dec. 16, 2010, episode, who helped shed light on the ongoing battle these responders were dealing with in Congress.

“He was definitely one of the reasons the bill got passed,” Feal said of Stewart. Stewart accompanied Feal and many other first responders when they traveled to Washington, D.C, on Wednesday, Sept. 16, and took part in a mini rally.

The bill did not pass the first time it was presented to Congress back in 2006. A new version was drafted in 2010 and passed in the House of Representatives, but was having trouble getting through the Senate due to a Republican filibuster. The bill received final congressional approval on Dec. 22, 2010, and was enacted by the president on Jan. 2, 2011.

“As we get older these illnesses will become debilitating,” Feal said. “Not extending this bill is criminal. People will die without it. It’s a life-saving piece of legislation.”

Jennifer McNamara, a Blue Point resident and president of The Johnny Mac Foundation, is also actively involved in the fight to keep responders health costs covered. Her late husband, John McNamara, passed away in 2009 from stage IV colon cancer.

He was a New York City Firefighter and worked more than 500 hours at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of 9/11. He worked with responders to get support for the Zadroga bill before he died.

“I made him a promise to continue to lend support to get this legislation passed,” Jennifer McNamara said in a phone interview. When her husband passed away, she said there weren’t as many responders getting sick as there are now. “People are dying more quickly, and more are getting diagnosed with cancers and other illnesses.”

The two big issues that McNamara said she feels need to continue to be addressed are monitoring these diseases and coverage of costs once someone is diagnosed. McNamara said she believes that if there were better monitoring programs earlier on, her husband could’ve been diagnosed before his cancer was stage IV, and he could’ve had a better chance.

“These people did tremendous things for their country,” McNamara said. “They shouldn’t have to guess about whether they are going to be taken care of.”

Community members gathered to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States. During memorial events across Suffolk County, ceremonial shots were fired, victims’ names read aloud and flowers laid down.

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