The July 4th Knucklehead of the Day Marathon Part Ten
This is the nuttiest winner for today.
Our 10th winner is Brevard County Animal Services. They get the award for the following.
MELBOURNE -- Every day, hungry squirrels scurry along utility lines and fence tops to feast on birdseed in the leafy canopy of Jack Garrison's backyard oak tree.Absolutely hilarious isn't it. For exceeding their authority, Brevard County Animal Services is our tenth Knucklehead of the day.
The retired Kennedy Space Center mechanic nourishes the furry rodents with two wooden birdfeeders. He also fills a plastic container with water, places peanuts near his front door and keeps a wary eye for birds of prey in his Cresthaven subdivision.
But somebody complained, and he was stunned to receive an envelope -- albeit by
mistake -- stuffed with Brevard County Animal Services and Enforcement notices, warning of fines up to $1,375 for four squirrel-related infractions and a barking-dog violation.
Turns out the squirrelly letters were generated and mailed by mistake, said Bob Brown, animal services outreach officer. Garrison does not face criminal charges or fines.
In the notices, the county animal agency alleged Garrison engaged in illegal behavior with the bushy-tailed critters: squirrel at large, squirrel on the beach, squirrel defecating or urinating on public or private property, squirrel disturbing the peace.
Brown said an anonymous caller complained that Garrison's wildlife-feeding hobby was attracting raccoons and stray cats to the property. The county department's telephone operator who fielded the call was new on the job, and she filled out an erroneous computer report.
The computer automatically generated a series of warning letters for various database fields -- animal at large, animal on the beach, etc. -- and the notices were mailed to Garrison, Brown said.
"We have talked to this gentleman and told him it was a mistake. He's been apologized to," Brown said. "We've told him this was all an error and not to worry about it. All this was explained to him in detail."
Brown said squirrels are wild creatures that fall under the jurisdiction of Florida Fish and Wildlife officials, not county animal services. He said credible evidence, such as signed affidavits from neighbors or on-site inspection, is required before his department charges anyone with a violation.