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Suffolk Daily Voice serves Babylon, Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip, North Fork, Riverhead, Smithtown & The Hamptons

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Police & Fire

Know Them? Vandals Break Into Nature Center In Smithtown, Feed Animals Beer

Know them? Police are attempting to identify several men who allegedly vandalized the Smithbriar Nature Center.
Know them? Police are attempting to identify several men who allegedly vandalized the Smithbriar Nature Center. Photo Credit: Smithtown Public Safety

Authorities are hoping that photos will help identify a group of men who vandalized and traumatized animals at the Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown.

The vandals have broken into the facility several times, but during a recent incident they climbed into pens housing animals that have been abused or traumatized and damaged cages, letting the animals out to roam around the grounds, causing many of them to become upset, said Nicole Garguilo, spokeswoman for Smithtown.

In the most recent incident they can be seen on camera also feeding an abused goat a beer, she said.

"We really hope someone from the public will step forward so these men can be brought to justice for doing this to innocent animals who have suffered in the past," Garguilo said.

The center, she added, is such a gem to the community for both the animals and for residents. In addition to helping and caring for injured or abused animals of all types, the all-volunteer organization also offers tours to children and is a "wonderful," place to visit.

"Anyone who would do what they did to the innocent animals would do far worse to a person or child," she added.

The full actions of the men came to light when a volunteer found a security camera in a pond on the property that was thrown there by one of the men. After hours and hours of meticulous work, the volunteer was able to recover the footage on the camera that shows the men in action, damaging pens and scaring the animals. 

They can be seen feeding the goat the beer, climbing out of an enclosure home to pigs, and damaging other animal housing, Garguilo said. 

That's includes housing for a bald eagle, osprey, and many small animals such as baby bunnies and other farm animals, such as pigs, goats, and chickens.

"The center is a real gem in the community. They take in all types of injured or abused animals," she said. "For example, if a deer is hit by a vehicle and survives, there is help available at the center. The same goes for any type of animal and birds of all kinds.

I'm just shocked at the disrespect shown to the animals and the hard work of the volunteers."

The center, located at 55 Miller Place Road, operates completely by donation. 

If caught, the men face charges of criminal mischief, petit larceny, and animal cruelty.

Anyone with information, or who may know the men pictured or asked to call public safety at 631-360-5773. All calls will remain confidential.

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