Worried about wildlife: Advocates say animals will die if power company cuts down trees as planned

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WALWORTH COUNTY -- A power company's plans are putting injured and orphaned wildlife at risk in Walworth County. A Town of Geneva woman has launched a public and legal fight to stop this from happening.

Wildlife advocates say their animals will die if the company gets its way and cuts down trees at the front of their property.

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Yvonne Wallace Blane

Yvonne Wallace Blane

"Most people who come here for the first time drive past," Yvonne Wallace Blane said.

Blane is fighting to keep the privacy she's worked 21 years to create.

"This was supposed to be a safe place, a peaceful place, a quiet place," Wallace Blane said.

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Trees in front of Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital serve as a barrier -- protecting the orphaned or injured birds and mammals inside from the sights and sounds of traffic on Palmer Road.

The American Transmission Company (ACT) wants to cut down the trees because branches are nearing power lines. An easement agreed to in 1970 by a previous landowner allows this, but Wallace Blane says there's a more reasonable option.

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

"Why not just let us keep what we have and trim it so that it's not too close to your lines?" Wallace Blane said.

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Fellow Mortals has filed a restraining order against ATC.

Wallace Blane's lawyer says their case is an uphill battle.

"To fight this, it's like David against Goliath, but David does not have a sling," Robert Kennedy said.

An ATC representative says company officials "remain optimistic" about finding a balance. The company has proposed "compatible vegetation and fencing."

ATC statement

Wallace Blane says eliminating the natural barrier would cause the animals she cares for to panic.

"If we can't protect this, then there isn't much reason to go on really, because this is one place in a big, bad world where wildlife has a second chance," Wallace Blane said.

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

This case will be taken up in court again on Monday, June 27th. It may take weeks or months to resolve.

FOX6 News is told ATC is not cutting any trees until it's resolved.

CLICK HERE to view a petition created by Wallace Blane -- signed by more than 80,000 supporters.

3 comments

  • Dylan

    Compromise. Trim the trees for now..have the utility company put in a reasonable and natural barrier..let it take root and grow then remove the nuisance trees…if the trees were destroyed in a storm. The animals would have to adjust. So seems reasonable to try and replace the barrier

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