Long Island woman who chained herself to tree loses fight to save it

To Denise Casares, it wasn't just any old tree. It stood in front of her family's Westbury home for four generations and held sentimental value. That's why she spent nearly a week chained to it in hopes of preventing the village from removing it.

Casares said she tried to tell village authorities that they'd be served with a petition but it was too little too late.

"Did they even check to see if there were squirrels or birds or anything living in it? They just tore it down like it was nothing," Casares said. "The house has a lot of memories, and the tree meant a lot to me."

But the village explained the decades-old tree and a few others nearby on village property needed to be cut to correct curbs and ponding as part of a road repaving project.

Mayor Peter Cavallaro said the village had no choice but to take it down after Denise missed the deadline of last Friday to make a decision. She was given the option to pay for drainage work and assume responsibility for the large oak should it fall and hurt someone. 

For every tree removed, another one is planted, the mayor said.

(FOX 5 NY Photo)

"It's a frivolous claim — it's village property and something we have to do properly to pave the road," Cavallaro said. "We don't remove trees willy-nilly. We like our street trees but sometimes the situations and conditions warrant the tree being removed."

Denise is asking for community support and encourages residents to show up at Thursday night's village meeting. She is calling for a change of leadership. 

She said she did whatever she could to salvage what was left of the tree.

"We tried to get little twigs to see if I can root them and whatever leaves that I could find so I could seed them," she said.

Until then, the tree will remain rooted in her heart.