An article on nj.com, written by Bridget Clerkin of The Trenton Times. It concerns events at a recent (May, 2012) New Jersey FurBQ:
WEST WINDSOR — A “FurBQ” party attended by guests dressed in animal costumes at the Twin “W” Rescue Squad building has drawn criticism from township officials after a couple openly engaged in unseemly behavior during the event and too many people crowded into the party, which drew a visit from the police.
Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh called the May 26 Memorial Day barbecue “inappropriate” and said the squad’s president, Mike Leahy, subsequently met with former township administrator Bob Hary and Police Chief Joseph Pica to discuss the event, which had been held on the grounds at least once before.
Leahy promised the barbecue would never take place there again, township attorney Mike Herbert said.
Herbert said the couple, who could not be identified, engaged in “inappropriate behavior.” They were spotted outside the building in the middle of the day, according to accounts of the party posted online by attendees.
“People were appalled by what transpired there,” Councilman George Borek said last week.
The event was a summertime gathering for “furries,” people who like to dress in what they call “fur suits,” animal costumes that look similar to sporting mascots.
The furry culture includes artists and writers who focus on anthropomorphic animals as their subjects and discuss them online. Many participants create their own characters and matching costumes that they wear to furry conferences and other events.
The West Windsor party was organized by a rescue squad volunteer who calls himself “Tony Ringtail” in postings on the site Furaffinity.net.
“West Windsor is an extremely professional organization that will not put up with any inappropriate behavior, no matter who it’s from,” Herbert said. “This should’ve never happened and will never happen again, and if it does, then the relationship between the township and the Twin W will have to be re-evaluated.”
The rescue squad building and property is owned by the nonprofit Twin “W” First Aid Squad Inc. About half of the staff are paid township employees and half are volunteers.
In addition to paying employees, the township supplies ambulances and other equipment and the council recently approved $45,000 in annual funding for the group, a $15,000 increase. It was the first increase in the township’s donation in 20 years, Leahy said.
According to Herbert, since Twin W owns the building and the property, the township had no say in the decision to hold the party there. And Leahy said what happened during the party had been blown out of proportion.
“Everything was kept in a back area. There was nothing in the front,” he said. “People like to fabricate, and we have no knowledge of any problem.”
But he acknowledged that the party was not altogether problem-free.
“The township was concerned that there were too many people at the party. There were nearly 200 people there, so that’s a little bit too much, even for our organization,” Leahy said.
He said some of the paid Twin W employees were unhappy this type of party was taking place in the building. They knew an event was planned but did not know its exact nature in advance, he said.
According to posts on the Furaffinity site, the couple’s actions took place in front of many people in the middle of the day, including children.
West Windsor Lt. Pat McCormack said police were called to the party but refused to go into further detail, saying the issue was being handled as a “personnel matter.”
A YouTube video of the party, which showed guests grilling and dancing to music, drew several critical comments and video responses from self-described furries lambasting the two people involved in the incident.
An online fundraising campaign was started after the barbecue and had raised close to $2,500 as of yesterday afternoon, according to the fundraising site at ChipIn.com.
“Concerned furries have started this fundraiser to help the Twin ‘W’ Rescue Squad, which used to host the NJ FurBQ, recover some of the funds that were lost during some recent unfortunate events,” the website read.
According to posts by “Tony Ringtail,” the party organizer, the barbecue itself raised $300 for the squad.
A link from Ringtail’s online profile points to a defunct website that was registered to Anthony Bianca, according to a registration record. Lt. Tony Bianca, a member and administrator at the Twin W, could not be reached for comment.