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For Immediate Release: Nov 08, 2000
Contact: Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337

STATE BIOLOGISTS BUSTED FOR HUNTING VIOLATIONS

Will Case Go to Hearing?


Washington, DC - Two biologists for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife have been cited for hunting without a license, hunting out of season and discharge of firearms too close to inhabited dwellings and roads, following a citizen complaint. The complaint against the two biologists is scheduled for hearing on Thursday, November 9 in Marlborough District Court, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), an environmental watchdog group.

The two state biologists, Eric Amati and John Sheedy, were seen shooting at a coyote on August 28 in a residential neighborhood in Marlborough. Neither possessed a valid hunting license and they were hunting coyote out of season. In addition, they discharged firearms within 500 feet of a house and within 100 feet of a roadway, both violations of state game law. Both were cited on November 1 by state environmental police.

Lyn Gorka, a witness who filed the original complaint, is "infuriated" at the biologists' actions. "They were dressed in army fatigues and giving each other high fives," Gorka said. " Neighbors were not allowed input or even warned that there would be shooting."

"If state wildlife biologists can openly ignore game laws why should anyone else comply?" asked PEER National Field Director Eric Wingerter. "PEER is publicizing this incident to make sure that wildlife violations by state employees are handled in the same manner as violations by ordinary citizens."

If the two employees do not contest the charges, the November 9 "show cause" hearing may determine what penalty is applied for the violations.