Cassadaga says, ‘Save the swans’

CASSADAGA – One recent Cassadaga Village Board meeting took an interesting turn.

“Save the Swans” was the topic for two local residents who want to keep their beautiful mute swans alive in Cassadaga.

Residents Sheila Kroon and Chuck Battaglia passionately spoke about stopping the elimination of these graceful creatures.

“The DEC (Department of Environmen-tal Conservation) wants to kill all the mute swans by 2025,” Kroon said. “They were accepting letters through February on this subject.”

Kroon asked the board to send in its own letters to the DEC, registering disapproval about destroying mute swans.

Battaglia sent in very detailed letters against the idea and urged the board and other residents to do the same.

“The symbol of Cassadaga is our mute swans,” he said. “There needs to be an outcry from the people; grandparents take their grandchildren down to feed them.”

Battaglia spoke of gaining support from Sen. Catharine Young, who stopped this scenario from happening a few years ago.

“They are not invasive to residents, they eat weeds,” Battaglia said. “If we don’t stop them, they will shoot or gas them, babies and all.”

The idea is to get as many local government officials as possible on board with saving the swans and send it all to Young’s office.

Trustee Ron Dechard nostalgically spoke of his childhood.

“I remember when I was a kid and I saw the swans at Lily Dale,” he said. “I have only seen about six swans the whole 47 years I have lived here.”

Battaglia pointed out there is a swan family of five that comes every year; a male who started coming around three years ago; a female two years ago; making it seven swans who come to Cassadaga.

“The only problem with swans is during mating season they get aggressive and attack other male swans,” he said. “They are very territorial; they don’t harm the residents.”

“Cassadaga has already lost so much in the last 20 years,” he continued. “I don’t want to lose the identity of our lake, too.”

Dechard suggested making them honorary residents of Cassadaga to protect them.

Mayor LeeAnn Lazarony said she doesn’t want them to kill any swans. “I want to proclaim the mute swan as our official bird of Cassadaga,” she said.

Trustee Josh Slaven added there could be a contest allowing residents to chose a name for each swan.