Delaware County Sheriff’s officials and the Delhi and Margaretville Telephone Companies say they have to ask people to stop shooting at birds or animals on utility lines.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Sheriff Craig DuMond says people taking target practice or trying to take out nuisance wildlife are causing damage to fiber optic cables and other critical telecommunications infrastructure. The damage can lead to widespread and prolonged disruption of critical telecommunication infrastructure in an area where many residents already complain of spotty service.

Authorities say they realize the damages are often unintended and people may not see any immediate evidence of damage but internal hits on the facilities could shut down emergency 911, radio communications used by fire, medical and law enforcement agencies, emergency television alert systems as well as residents’ own cell phones, business internet and television.

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Sheriff DuMond adds, the damage to the telecommunications systems is not only a serious safety issue and inconvenience for residents but could result in criminal prosecution.

The Sheriff urges people to be responsible and use due care when discharging a firearm to ensure that essential telecommunication lines are not damaged.

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