Freehold Township- Maria Vaccarella, the Howell woman who was threatened with a $1000 fine and six months in jail for rescuing two baby squirrels, rejected a plea deal of a $35 court costs and a suspended fine that was offered by Township Prosecutor Anthony Vecchio this afternoon.
Vaccarella and her pro-bono attorney, animal rights lawyer Doris Lin, showed up unannounced in Freehold Township Municipal Court to ask Vecchio to dismiss the summons that Fish and Wildlife officials mailed to Vaccarella after they took the squirrels she cared for after they were abandoned by their mother. The case, which was transferred to Freehold from Howell Township because of a conflict, was originally scheduled for January 27th.
Vecchio told MoreMonmouthMusings that he thought the suspended fine and court cost would be a fair way to resolve the case that has received nationwide attention. He said the case would be transferred back to Howell for litigation.
Lin said she would challenge the charges as being unconstitutionally vague, not a circumstance that the legislature intended to punish and a waste of the Division and Fish and Wildlife’s resources.
Vaccerella told MMM that she would not plea guilty under any circumstances. “I did you are supposed to do. I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m not going to say I did” she said. Vaccerella said she would go to jail rather than pay a fine.