Activist Pleads Not Guilty to Trespassing, Obstruction

New Jersey animal rights activist Angi Metler, 47, plead not guilty this month to charges of trespassing and obstructing a government function. Metler locked herself to a bear trap in August and police had to remove part of the cage to arrest her.

According to the New Jersey Herald, Metler and another activist with Bear Education and Resource Group visited a home that had recently been broken into by a bear. State wildlife officials had set up a trap outside the home in hopes the bear would return.

The New Jersey Herald reported that,

Words were apparently exchanged between [the homeowner] and the activists, and Metler’s solution was to jump into the cage to prevent the death of the bear, which would be killed if caught and positively identified as the problem animal.

Wildlife officials believe that one or two bears is responsible for numerous home break-ins in the area.


Caged BEAR activist ready to go to trial. Brendan Berls, New Jersey Herald, September 1, 2004.

The Denouement to the Princeton Deer Hunt

For the past couple years there’s been on ongoing controversy over attempts by Princeton Township (New Jersey) to reduce the size of the deer herd. Princeton has brought in sharpshooters in the past, endured failed lawsuits trying to stop it from carrying out the deer cull, and generally been the focus of the ongoing debate about dealing with deer in urban and suburban areas.

The whole episode took another interesting turn in January when one of the opponents of the Princeton hunting plans switched sides, much to the consternation of animal rights activists who complained they had been betrayed.

A group called Hunters Advocate had opposed the plan to kill the deer with sharpshooters and captive-bolt guns. Led by Robert Kubiak, Hunters Advocate had worked along side animal rights groups such as the League of Animal Protection Voters to oppose the sharpshooters.

But in January, Kubiak’s attorney Falk Engel presented a plan to the Princeton Township board to replace the sharpshooters and captive-bolt guns with a program of coordinated bow hunting. Princeton Township largely rejected Kubiak’s proposal — it will continue to seek sharpshooters and captive-bolt gun methods — but it did modify its plan to address complaints from hunters who felt the previous plan unfairly denied them the ability to hunt game.

Under the revised plan, Princeton Township agreed not to cull deer on any private lands that are under contract with hunting clubs. The revised plan also agreed to work with hunters to investigate opening up some public lands for private hunters during the 2003-2004 hunting season.

Stuart Chaifetz of the League of Animal Protection Voters was outraged at Kubiak’s sudden about-face. In an e-mail posted to an animal rights e-mail list, Chaifetz cited comments by Kubiak in support of bow hunting and wrote,

What we have here is a textbook case of how compromise, working with the enemy and an unwillingness to take a hard stand for the animals leads to the bloody destruction of those animals. It is a shameful thing that should never have been allowed to happen. Any of you who attended the “celebration” fund raisers at Princeton, which may have funded this man, should demand your money back.

In the last few years there has been a rush to the “center” in the fight for wiild [sic] animals. By this I mean taking a non-offensive stance (because we just can’t afford to offend anyone) and compromise on issues (because we just can’t be seen as being radical animal rights activists).

. . .

This is a cautionary tale: Move closer to the enemy, join with the enemy, and sleep with the enemy, and when you wake up you will find that you have become the enemy.

Similarly, Angi Metler of the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance told The Princeton Packet,

We are appalled and will not be party to any collaboration between hunters and attorneys calling for anyone to kill deer in Princeton or anywhere else.

The activists were likely even further appalled when the state Fish and Game Council approved the revised plan in a 7-2 vote — it had previously rejected other plans put forward by the Township. Of course by that time, Kubiak had once again switched sides and was voicing his opposition to the deer cull saying there was no justification for continuing the program.

Stay tuned for the exciting next episode in the Princeton Township deer cull saga. This is likely to be a stewing issue for years.


Animal-rights advocates slam bow-hunting proposal. David Campbell, The Princeton Packet, January 31, 2003.

Princeton deer betrayed by lawyer. Stuart Chaifetz, e-mail, January 29, 2003.

Princeton Township stands firm on deer-plan removal. David Campbell, The Princeton Packet, January 28, 2003.

Animal-rights group fights deer plan on the airwaves. Gwen Runkle, The Princeton Packet, February 11, 2003.

Game council drops opposition to Princeton deer control plan. Newsday, February 16, 2003.

New Jersey Takes Preliminary Steps Toward Bear Hunt

The New Jersey Fish and Game Council this month approved a six-day bear hunt season for December 2003 to manage the bear population in the state.

What would be New Jersey’s first bear hunt since 1970 was approved in a 10-1 vote by the council> Now the proposed hunt will be the subject of public hearings before a final decision is made in September.

Officials in New Jersey are obviously worried about the killing last year of a 5-month old infant by a black bear in New York. Although there has never been a similar killing in New Jersey, complaints about black bears increased to 1,412 in 2002, up from only 1,096 in 2001. In addition, The New York Times reports that in the last two years 59 bears have been killed by animal control officers because they posed an immediate threat to people or property.

New Jersey Fish and Game Council member Jane Morton Galetto explained that she voted for the hunt because,

It’s just a matter of time before a child or an adult is killed here, and people start to say they want to see every bear wiped off the face of New Jersey.

In 2000 a similar hunt was authorized to kill 175 bears, but was withdrawn after lobbying from cities and animal rights organizations. Instead, the state spent $1 million educating people on how to avoid bears. Those groups also plan to lobby hard to prevent the December bear hunt from taking place.

The Daily Record News (NJ) quoted Angie Metler of the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance as noting that New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey lobbied against the 2000 hunt adding, “we intend to hold McGreevey to his promise to protect the bears.”

The Humane Society of the United States’ Barbara Dyer told The New York Times,

We see this as really a call for a trophy hunt. We stopped the hunt before, and we pledge to stop it again.

New Jersey environmental commissioner Bradley M. Campbell, who would likely have authority over any bear hunt, said that additional study might be needed on exactly how many bears there are in New Jersey before he would be prepared to go ahead with a hunt.


State council authorizes black bear hunt. Rob Jennings, Daily Record (New Jersey), March 8, 2003.

Bear hunt is proposed in New Jersey. Robert Hanley, The New York Time, March 8, 2003.