Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of March 2, 2017

Since this week’s Scoopy’s column is about animal-rights activists’ fight to stop Canada Goose from cruelly trapping and killing coyotes just to use their fur for their pricey parkas’ hood fringe (not to mention all those ducks and goose whose feathers fill the costly coats), we figured it would be appropriate to feature some of the persecuted coyotes’ canine cousins — namely, a few of the stars of last month’s Westminster Dog Show! As usual, The Villager’s ace “puparazzi” photographer, Milo Hess, got total backstage access, allowing him to candidly capture the celebrity pooches in relaxed moments and get shots you’ll find nowhere else. Photos by Milo Hess

Animal instinct: The Canada Goose protesters have been branching out a bit lately. After a bull that made a break for it from a Jamaica, Queens, slaughterhouse died after being riddled with tranquilizer darts last week, the activists held a vigil outside the fateful abattoir. “Apparently the bull was shot by the N.Y.P.D. with numerous tranquilizer darts at once,” Nathan Semmel, one of the group’s members, told us. “He never made it to Animal Care and Control. It is even more tragic because Mike Stura from Skylands Animal Sanctuary was on his way to rescue him. Our collective belief is that so long as people continue to see animals as food and fashion, these incidents will continue to occur. This is even more apparent when the city allows slaughterhouses to operate without proper oversight and the N.Y.P.D. is ill-prepared to respond in a manner that gives escaped animals the best opportunity to survive.” The vigil for the bull, Semmel said, was to “honor his courageous effort to live free and shine a light on another consequence of animal exploitation.” In addition, our front-page article last week on the ongoing Canada Goose protests in Soho westminster-dogs-2017-03-02-v03,VIL,PRINT_WEB,WEBgave the details on a demonstrator — a 33-year-old Brooklyn man — being arrested outside the 101 Wooster St. store on Sat., Feb. 4, for disorderly conduct, but did not mention two other arrests that occurred the previous day. According to police, on Fri., Feb. 3, Robert Gilbert, 34, of Bushwick, and Angela Derosa, 38, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, were both arrested for harassment in the second degree outside the embattled outerwear outlet. City Councilmember Margaret Chin has stated that one of those two arrests was for “aggravated harassment.” However, when we asked police to confirm that, we were just told, “Harassment 2 is Penal Law 240.26 02.” Looking up the definition of that charge in the New York Penal Law, one finds that it can include physical contact with a person — striking, shoving, kicking, etc. — or the threat to do so; following a person about in public places; or conduct or actions that “alarm or seriously annoy” the other person and “which serve no legitimate purpose.” While we did not see any mention of “aggravated harassment” in the charge’s definition, it does sound annoying. Chin had mentioned there having been three arrests, but we initially did not ask the police to search back quite far enough in their records — we were off by one day — which is why those two arrests were not included in last week’s article. For the record, a Chin spokesperson did respond this week to our request for comment about what the councilmember thought of the silent vigil and the quieter protests. Anyway, as for the ongoing Soho actions, Semmel said, they are easing back — but only slightly. “Protests have been going very well,” he said. “We are still at Canada Goose but a bit less and we have expanded elsewhere. We had a very westminster-dogs-2017-03-02-v01,VIL,PRINT_WEB,WEBproductive meeting at the First Precinct Community Council last Thursday. Approximately 25 to 30 activists attended. There was a lot of back and forth between residents, activists and the deputy inspector. It was a bit contentious at first, but by the end of the meeting there were some handshakes and we all came to an understanding. Essentially, the deputy inspector acknowledged our right to use our voices in protest; we promised we would do so without any sound devices or instruments and will discourage anyone from following or cursing at customers / passersby. If we do this, the police agreed to give us warnings if our sound level approaches an unreasonable level. I hung around afterward and the police officers and detectives seemed very appreciative of our overture,” Semmel said. “There have been no incidents since. Hopefully that continues. We’re targeting other stores in New York City,” he added. “Right now we are outside of Paragon Sports one or two days per week, mostly educating, but some chanting, too. We have had some really nice westminster-dogs-2017-03-02-v04,VIL,PRINT_WEB,WEBturnouts and not a single police incident. Union Square is terrific for outreach. We are asking customers to contact management to say they will not shop at Paragon Sports if they are going to continue to sell fur. There are usually a few people at Canada Goose each day, but in terms of larger-sized protests, we have been going only about once per week right now. I think this shows the residents and Police Department that we are serious about trying to work with them, but still exercise our rights in a reasonable fashion. We are also signaling to other businesses that they are on our radar.”