-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
Skylar Capo, an 11-year-old aspiring veterinarian in Fredericksburg Virginia, rescued a baby woodpecker from the jaws of the family cat in her Dad’s backyard. Her mother, Alison Capo, agreed to take the baby woodpecker home to make sure it was safe and uninjured. On the way home, they stopped by Lowe’s and took the caged bird inside to keep it out of the heat of their car.
Inside the Lowe’s, they were confronted by a fellow shopper who said she worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. After showing her badge, the agent informed the mother that the woodpecker was a protected species and that transporting the baby woodpecker was illegal.
As soon as the Capo family got home, they released the bird and it flew away. They reported the bird’s release to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Two weeks later the same female U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent and a Virginia State Trooper showed up at the Capo home to serve a citation. Capo refused to accept the citation which was later mailed to her. It was a summons to appear in U.S. District Court for unlawfully taking a migratory bird. She’s also been slapped with a $535 fine.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued this statement Tuesday, August 2nd:
Upon speaking with the subject, later identified as Alison Capo, on June 27, the agent determined that no further action was warranted. A citation that had been previously drafted by the agent was cancelled on June 28.
Unfortunately, the citation was processed unintentionally despite our office’s request to cancel the ticket. The Service has contacted Ms. Capo to express our regret. The Service is also sending Ms. Capo a formal letter explain the clerical error and confirming that ticket should never have been issued.
That statement doesn’t ring true. If the agent determined that “no further action was warranted,” there would have been no need for her to show up at the Capo home with the state trooper.
There are good reasons for having a law against the transport of protected species. In this case, the agent failed to consider those reasons and the outcome is a lack of respect for the law.