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Girl Saves Rescued Woodpecker From Cat Gets US Fish Wildlife $535 Ticket

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

While 11-year old Skylar Capo rescues a baby woodpecker from the jaws of her cat--rescuing a bird slated for certain death--a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee at Lowe's allegedly issues threats that her mom could face a year in jail plus a $535 ticket fine over the rescued bird in Virginia.
Skylar Capo enjoys rescuing animals, according to her mom -- and was able to successfully save a woodpecker from the jaws of death: Her cat , at her dad's house near Fredricksburg, had wrangled the tiny woodpecker into its mouth -- but the 11-year-old managed to save the bird and began nursing it back to health for release. After the rescued woodpecker was found at her father's house near Fredricksburg, Virginia, Skylar Capo's mom said her daughter could nurse the bird a day or two before releasing the baby woodpecker back to the wild.
On the way back to her mother's home, the teenage girl and her mom reportedly stopped at a hardware store -- to find a temporary holding cage for the bird.
The 11-year-old had taken the bird physically into a Virginia Lowe's Hardware location after saving the bird -- instead of leaving the woodpecker in a hot car. While shopping in Loews, the young girl ran into an employee of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -- who, rather than first locating the girl's mother to speak directly, told Capo it's illegal to take or transport a woodpecker. She also told Skylar Capo her mom could be legally busted over the violation. The Federal Migratory Bird Act dictates that it is a crime to take or transport a woodpecker, a law of which the family members were unaware. Apparently that member of U.S. Fish and Wildlife decided to track the young girl and her mother down -- showing up at the family's door, accompanied by a Virginia state trooper weeks later.
It's unclear whether the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer was on private shopping time while at the Lowe's, which would add another odd -- and even more highly debatable factor to the confrontation and hassle. It's also unclear whether the Capo family willingly provided the agency home address information -- or whether the family was 'tailed' back to its Virginia residence by the employee.
The young girl says she was upset over the confrontation by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because she didn't want her mom to be in trouble over the bird she'd rescued. But her mom did get busted over the woodpecker rescue: Just two weeks after the Lowes visit, the Capos were met with an arrival from the same, female U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer from the hardware store -- plus a Virginia State trooper. Despite the Capos release of the woodpecker that was nurtured back to health, Alison Capo was given a $535 citation.
Alison Capo says she feels harassed and angry over the scenario that turned into a hassle and huge fine. And she refused that $535 ticket -- citing the fact neither she or any family member had any woodpecker in possession. But despite refusing the ticket, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service didn't give up: That citation arrived via mail weeks later, sent by mail.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service probably wasn't planning on the Capo family making its experience public. Now -- after what Alison Capo dubs harassing behavior by the agency -- the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is dubbing that ticket an error. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, "The citation was processed unintentionally" -- and it's apologizing for "the clerical error."
U.S. Fish and Wildlife probably should've come up with a bit better excuse than the lame one. There can only be a "clerical error" when information has actually been entered into a computer system -- obviously what occurred. The agency obviously intended to follow up on that transgression or never would've had the information in its database to begin with.
As Skylar Capo's mom points out, the actions by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are not only "the most ridiculous thing" but also sends out a terrible message to both kids and adults who try to do the right thing, or save an animal.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may as well have also threatened the young girl with a possible arrest of her mom over the baby woodpecker she'd saved. As it turns out, the wildlife officer reportedly told the 11-year-old that not only could her mom be hit by a hefty fine, but that she could also face up to a year in jail over the animal rescue. Alison Capo says -- understandably -- that what equaled threats issued to a young kid scared her daughter.
The smart kid says she'd do it all again: "I know that it's saving something's life. I'd rather pay than let something die."


Fredricksburg, VA
United States
38° 18' 11.4624" N, 77° 27' 37.944" W
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