August 29, 2014

Caretaking for the suburban exotics

A few weeks ago, this newspaper and other northern Westchester news outlets reported that a North Salem family was looking for its missing wallaby, Indy.

For those unfamiliar with the creatures, wallabies are herbivores ranging in size up to 6 feet in length from head to tail. In the wild, mobs (as they are called) of wallabies travel together in forests, propelled by their strong hind legs and ability to jump great heights. You’ll find them in New Zealand, Australia and, rather less frequently though nonetheless notably, northern Westchester.

In 2001 a wallaby escaped from the Michael Steinhardt estate in Katonah and bounded through town causing motorists to slam on their brakes as it hopped along Cherry Street. It was found at the Croton Lake Road condos, sedated by the DEC and returned to its owner. In 2004, another wallaby — one of 12 on the estate — made a similar journey through town.

Today on Mr. Steinhardt’s property, according to caretaker Jason Hayes, are four red buff lemurs; one brown lemur; seven ring-tailed lemurs; one spider monkey; 13 common marmosets; six Geoffroy’s marmosets; eight servals, six fennec foxes; and three bat-eared foxes. They’re all worth a Google search. The wallabies were not listed on the property’s most recent inventory.

On other Bedford and Pound Ridge properties, many of them listed in the county’s agricultural district, we have seen alpacas, emus and zorses — the last of which are hybrid crosses between zebras and mares. Readers will remember Stanley, the lovelorn peacock who roamed Guard Hill Road last summer in search of a mate. And Pound Ridge is still talking about Misu, the local emu that went AWOL from his Long Ridge Road home and strolled into Connecticut (“The animal was not aggressive,” said police Chief Dave Ryan at the time, “but it was not cooperative”).

According to Bedford’s town clerk Lisbeth “Boo” Fumagalli, by law, owners of wild animals are required to report them every year. The law states that each person owning, possessing or harboring a wild animal must report its presence to the town clerk’s office by the end of April.

Chapter 680 of the town code requires the annual reporting of the presence of wild animals. The town clerk forwards a copy of the completed report form to state and local police, fire departments and ambulance/emergency services having jurisdiction over the hamlet in which the wild animal resides. The law is enforced by code enforcement officer William O’Keefe.

The code’s intent is to prepare police and wildlife officials for response in case of a loose or endangered animal. If emergency services personnel need to enter your property, they should not be surprised by a jungle cat.

And for those wishing to visit a local sanctuary, Michael Steinhardt is hosting a tour of his property via the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days event on Nov. 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit

A dangerous profession

The headline in the story “From Missouri to Syria, Journalists Are Becoming Targets” said it all. The story came just after the horrific release of a YouTube video showing reporter James Foley being killed by members of ISIS. Meanwhile, in Ferguson, Mo., reporters said they were being targeted by both police and some protesters. Governments in China, Russia and other world nations routinely stifle free speech and may imprison or execute reporters. Imagine the risks journalists face trying to cover the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone and Liberia, with threats from a restive populace and the risk of contracting a deadly disease.

From our third-floor window in Katonah, home of The Record-Review, these events may seem a million miles away. This summer we’ve had the pleasure of covering farm markets, outdoor concerts, day camp celebrations and garden club contests. We feel protected from the outside world by active and involved law enforcement and emergency services. There are no riots in the streets. We have more to fear from our own driving mistakes than from the stray gunfire that bedevils parts of Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Despite the alleged “glamor” of the journalistic profession, in every region of our country reporters may be hindered by confidentiality agreements, threats of libel action and overzealous government officials who withhold public information.

Even on a local level, journalists take risks by reporting local arrests, violations and court cases. Our days of “Ferguson” have not happened and may never happen here, but they cause us to reflect upon the nature of this unique occupation.

New York Times media writer David Carr said it well this week: “In a world that is hostile to journalism in all its forms, where dangerous conflicts seem to jump off every other day, you can’t be uppity about where your news comes from. I’m just glad that someone’s willing to do the important work of bearing witness, the kind that can get you killed if something goes wrong.”

We grieve for James Foley and war photographers Chris Hondros of Getty Images and Tim Hetherington of Vanity Fair, and pray for Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, kidnapped in late July, and Steven Sotloff, a freelance journalist reporting for Time, as well as for all journalists victimized for simply doing their jobs.

For if there were not reporters, who would tell the stories?

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York



Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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