Bear activist found not guilty

Vernon. Animal activist and Vernon resident Danielle Varon was found not guilty in her bench trial during the final day of her trial on Feb. 25. She was charged with three counts of unlawfully interfering in the government management and trapping of wildlife.

27 Feb 2020 | 03:40

Animal activist and Vernon resident Danielle Varon was declared not guilty by Judge James Devine during the final leg of her trial on February 25 in Vernon Township Municipal Court.

Varon was accused of three counts, one being unlawfully interfering in the government management and trapping of wildlife. Varon’s second offense was a public nuisance charge and the third, section G of a statute, being active physical stimuli to alarm or disturb wildlife in the capturing process. The accusations occurred on April 2, 2019 after a bear trap was placed on Telemark Drive in Great Gorge Village.

Daniel Perez, Varon’s attorney summarized the case, commenting on the lack of evidence, namely, photographs of the bear at specific times. Perez reiterated that, “simply driving a car in the trap area as Varon had done, does not constitute obstruction of the law.”

Perez made reference to the use of common sense, saying there was no force or violence by his client.

Prosecutor Alicia Ferrante referred to common sense as well, mentioning Varon had purpose and intent by driving up and down Telemark Drive 16 times.

“Her intent being to spook the bear away from the trap,” Ferrante said.

Being a bench trial, Judge Devine deliberated for roughly 15 minutes and announced the not guilty verdict on all three of Varon’s charges. The courtroom exploded in applause among a dozen members of the Bear Group and other supporters.