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Concerns, controversy arise in Forestport after animal skinned, dissected, hung during kids camp

By JOLEEN FERRIS

FORESTPORT, N.Y. (WKTV) - Was it graphic or scientific? Inappropriate or educational?

Parents of kids in the Forestport Town Summer Recreation Program and town officials differ in their opinions of the recent skinning and dissection of a dead mink by program counselors, then hanging the animal's carcass from a tree.

It happened last week off of Bear Creek Road. Sage Chase is so upset about what his fellow counselor did, he's contacted everyone from county health officials to town leaders.

"One, because it's road kill, and it's a dead animal. It could have a lot of diseases. And blood, in front of the kids. I think that would distress some of the parents of some of the kids involved," says Chase.

Parent Karen Howard pulled her son from the program. He just turned 15, but was 14 when he witnessed the dissection.

"The summer recreation program is not the time or the place to teach our son how to field dress an animal. Summer recreation programs are to teach our children how to swim, be team players and give them something productive to do for summer outdoors," says Howard.

Former Oneida County Sheriff and current Forestport Town Supervisor Bill Hasenauer defended the impromptu dissection.

"What's wrong with that? They did it in school, didn't they?" said Hasenauer over the phone.

Chase is a former counselor with the town recreation program. The dissection happened Wednesday of last week. He expressed his concern to his parents that Thursday and was fired on Friday. The reason program officials gave him was that he took a group of kids on an extended walking route around a lake one day and returned to camp headquarters an hour later than expected. Chase says it was a marked trail.

Camp officials say no disciplinary action will be taken against the counselor or counselors who dissected the animal.

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