Girl Saves Baby Woodpecker – Mom Gets Fined $535

-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.


26 thoughts on “Girl Saves Baby Woodpecker – Mom Gets Fined $535

  1. Nal, it was the tincture of daylight that got the citation dismissed. Apparently the agency, and agent, did not care for the publicity that came from being both rigid and dense.

    The whole thing does not pass the smell test.

  2. mespo727272 1, August 4, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Things must be slow at the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

    No, I don’ think so Mespo. Sounds more like things were slow at Lowe’s.
    LOL… Maybe they got a WalMart next door or something…

  3. things are not slow at the USDWS, it is just business as usual from bureaucrats who have a political agenda in most cases.

    Just another example of unelected officials using the power of their office to effect political change. Change that the vast majority of Americans do not want nor have they asked for.

  4. “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.”

    How did the agent know where this woman lived?

    Then entire incident goes beyond not passing the smell test. It stinks to high heaven. What has happened to good old-fashioned common sense…

  5. This blind following of “policy” is rampant in our country. I have repeatedly run into bureaucratic idiots who spout a policy back at me while failing to realize that they are not only wrong but counter productive to solving whatever the issues was to be covered by the policy.

    Their excuses is almost always the same: “That’s the law” or “that’s the policy”. This 2 dimensional commentary from them reveals how we are failing our citizens in understanding the nature of law and policy. Thus they create a 3rd tier of citizens…the apathetic.

  6. anon nurse,

    Will they be holding that hearing for the 2.3 trillion dollar Rumsfeld
    at Gitmo????

    Didn’t think we’d be that lucky..

  7. “How did the agent know where this woman lived?”(anon nurse)

    That is a very good question and should be investigated thoroughly.

  8. It is sad that this story is being carried by so many sites and even Hannity. What people won’t do just to gain some clicks.

    The story is a non-story.

    A single individual got overzealous and reacted in a zero-tolerance way. When her actions became known the situation was rectified and no fine was issued.

    Even the headline is a blatant lie. She was not fined. She was cited, and then the citation was voided. Of course the truth wouldn’t gain any attention so we’ll just pretend otherwise.

    The story would have ended there except for people looking to gain karma/like/votes/clicks and what not.

  9. That is interesting. In Arizona, the trooper should have simply taped (adhered) it to the door once he had verified an adult was home and refused to take the summons. Mailing it later wouldn’t fly in a courtroom–not that the back robed pirates care–here. We still have the Right to be served.

  10. sounds like certain park service employee was the victim of a giant ass chewing. a well deserved giant ass chewing.

    the cat should be eligible for parole in 2016.

  11. I could tell you all a few stories about environmentalists being terrorists… true stories from the north woods of MI.

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