June 30, 2009:
Sometime last year (2008) I called DR. Ward Stone at the NYS DEC Pathology Unit in Delmar NY to ask him about an owl which I heard was picked up dead somewhere in Central Park by the Urban Park Rangers. I had assumed on hearing about the dead owl that it was going to be sent to the DEC for the standard necropsy/toxicology.Dr Stone knew nothing about the owl.
On questioning the UPRs later I was told that they are no longer sending carcasses to the DEC and that their new policy was to send it to the Dept of Health.
I was very disappointed to hear this but I consoled myself that at least the overworked Dr Stone would have less of a burden now that some of his workload will be picked up by the DOH.
On another occasion I questioned the UPR why they are no longer sending carcasses to Dr Stone’s Pathology unit at the DEC to which her answer was very strong “Ward Stone takes too long to supply us with results!”
I accepted this reason with some amount of chagrin for Dr Stone. It sounded justified since I knew first hand how heavy and backed up is his work at the scantily staffed facility Upstate New York. I felt also that the UPRs were ‘on the job’ and was not prepared to tolerate inefficiencies in the running of their program. I felt that though I have a deep liking for Dr Stone’s willingness to share and spread his knowledge and valuable discoveries I should not question the seemingly serious minded Urban Park Ranger department and the bottom line was the acquiring of data from the probing of these unfortunate animals and it mattered not which science agency performed the work.
Today, after almost a year since the UPRs policy change, I received information from the DOH that they do not accept dead animals from the Urban Park Rangers.
I was informed by Ms Rosatto that the DOH will not accept dead animals from any agency unless there are 10 or more of the same species found dead in the same place.
Ms Rosatto kept me on hold while she consulted other collegues at the DOH to confirm this policy.
This contradicts the Urban Park Rangers claim that they were not getting results from Ward Stone fast enough so they stopped using him and are now sending it to DOH.
Sara Aucoin , the Director of the UPRs assures me that they have received ‘many’ necropsy/toxicology reports from the DOH.
I could be wrong about all this and I shall not too big to admit that I am wrong. Just to confirm it I filed a FOIL request to see just how many reports Ms Aucoin is referring to.