Animal Rights Activist Jailed

Bill Crain, pictured in East Hampton in 2014, has begun a sentence in a New Jersey jail after being arrested in the fall while protesting a bear hunt. Morgan McGivern

On Tuesday morning, Bill Crain, an animal rights activist and the president of the East Hampton Group for Wildlife, turned himself in at Sussex County Jail in New Jersey to begin a 15-day jail sentence for charges stemming from his protest against the state’s annual bear hunt.

Mr. Crain was arrested in October in Fredon, N.J., a township about 45 miles west of Manhattan.

“On Oct. 14, I walked out of the area designated for the bear hunt protesters, refused to return, and was arrested. It was a peaceful act of civil disobedience,” the 74-year-old Mr. Crain said in a statement he read in court. It was the eighth time Mr. Crain had been arrested protesting the hunt and the second time he had been jailed (in 2017, his sentence was a little more than a week).

According to news reports, Mr. Crain was also fined $2,500 during his sentencing in Andover Township Municipal Court in December.

“He’s doing okay,” said East Hampton Town Trustee Dell Cullum, who’s been in contact with Mr. Crain’s wife, Ellen Crain.

“They’re fixing to let him out a little early for good behavior," he said.

Mr. Cullum said he was not surprised that Mr. Crain has gone to such lengths to protect New Jersey’s bears. "Bill’s the real deal, he doesn’t eat meat, he doesn’t like hunting or agree with any kind of abuse of any animal, let alone wildlife."

"I’m proud of him. To go to jail for this is pretty admirable. Not only does he protect the animals of East Hampton to the best of his abilities, then he goes beyond and goes to New Jersey year after year to stand up to the slaughter of black bears,” he said.

Mr. Crain, a psychology professor at the City College of New York who, along with his wife, runs the Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary in Dutchess County, has been active in fighting East Hampton deer-culling efforts, including leading a raucous 2014 rally protesting the use of sharpshooters to reduce the deer population.

Yuka Silvera, an East Hampton resident who became friends with Mr. Crain through the East Hampton Group for Wildlife, has launched a GoFundMe page to help Mr. Crain defray the cost of fines for his arrest and to raise money for the legal fight against deer culling in East Hampton Village. A donation, Ms. Silvera wrote, would “show our respect for Bill’s courage and efforts."