Darien found in violation of FOI Act regarding Selleck's Woods hunts
The Freedom of Information commission ruled the town and the former First Selectman Dave Campbell violated the FOI Act by not releasing information pertaining to the controlled hunts conducted in town.
The commission found Dave Campbell, now a selectman, was in violation by not releasing emails about the controlled hunts conducted in Selleck's Woods as requested by Friends of Animals. The former Darien Deer Committee was also named in the complaint but was not ruled to be in violation because the group did not keep minutes of any meetings held.
Friends of Animals spokeswoman Nancy Rice said an official acceptance of the decision is scheduled for Jan. 11; both parties will have the chance to give closing arguments about whether or not they agree with the decision. Rice said Friends of Animals will request a civil penalty be imposed on the town because no penalty was imposed in the commission's decision.
Town Counsel Wayne Fox said he felt the decision made by the FOI hearing officer was fair and the town was prepared to accept the decision Jan. 11. Even though a technical violation was found against the town for not realizing emails from the first selectman's office pertaining to the Selleck's Woods hunts, Fox said there are no repercussions for the town.
"The report did note the effort the town made to make information regarding the hunts available," Fox said. "There was no fine involved and we're happy with the decision."
In a statement, Friends of Animals said they were glad the town was found in violation and that the public hunts were discontinued this year.
"The larger violation here was the killing of 60 or more deer since 2005. We're relieved that the agony over killing innocent deer at Selleck's Woods this year was averted by the public's uproar over these revelations and the know-nothing deer hunting committee was disbanded," the statement said.