Case dismissed against squirrel rescuer

Maria Vaccarella squirellsThe State’s case against Maria Vaccarella was dismissed in Howell Municipal Court this morning.

Doris Lin, Esq., Vaccarella’s pro-bono defense counsel, argued that the statute that her client was charged under does not apply to rescuing abandoned baby squirrels, but rather to the possession of exotic pets and animals.  Judge James M. Newman, the Presiding Judge of Monmouth County Municipal Courts, agreed and dismissed the charges.

Vaccarella came to the aid of a squirrel that had fallen out of a tree last year and then gave birth to two infants.  Vaccarella left the babies outdoors in cage for a day and then took them in when the mother failed to return.  She named the baby squirrels George and Lola and bottle nursed them for four months after a registered wildlife rehabilitators refused to take them, she said.

Vaccarella shared photos and videos of the growing a squirrels on her facebook feed, which led to a visit from Fish and Wildlife officials who took the babies and sent her a summons that indicated a $500 fine.  During her first appearance in Freehold Township Municipal Court, the Judge told Vacarells that the fine could be $1000 and a six month jail sentence was possible.

Vaccarella rejected a plea deal with no fine and $35 in Court costs last month.

What are you doing this weekend?

Posted: February 10th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments »

8 Comments on “Case dismissed against squirrel rescuer”

  1. Tom Stokes said at 2:00 pm on February 10th, 2016:

    What a crazy waste of time – the Fish and Wildlife officials and the prosecutor should be jailed for gross misfeasance and malfeasance in office. Bureaucrats run amok!

  2. Kathy said at 2:53 pm on February 10th, 2016:

    Let no good deed go unpunished. Stupid state! Go after the real offenders!

  3. Judy Piehl said at 4:58 pm on February 10th, 2016:

    If I told you how I really feel about this FB would close my account. Enough said.

  4. Mike Harmon said at 7:23 pm on February 10th, 2016:

    Finally some common sense. The prosecutor still seems like an idiot for letting this all go this far.

    By my count, there are 550,000 public workers in the state of NJ for 9 million people. Reducing the headcount by 50,000 at an average wage and benefit of $50,000 per year would save $2.5 billion this year and every year.

    Leaning on your shovel is a thing of the past. Is it just me or do you notice numbers of public servants who are supposed to be working staring into their cell phones?

    I noticed this in a tour of the Capitol Building. Almost every armed guard was looking at their phones, barely looking up. I see the cops parked on traffic patrol staring at their cell phones.

    Perhaps they are all looking at pictures of baby squirrels?

  5. Lena said at 7:23 pm on February 10th, 2016:

    Don’t they have anything better to do? Really? That’s ridiculous!
    “No good deed will go unpunished” is right.

  6. Glad to hear it ... said at 7:25 pm on February 10th, 2016:

    Good for her.

    The whole case against Ms. Vaccarella was ludicrous from the start; a ridiculous abuse of power by those who charged her, and then amazingly, a second abuse of power by the prosecuter who brought the case before the court while refusing to recognize the idiocy of the whole thing. An issuance of a warning was all that was required here, if even that.

    By the way, what happened to the baby squirrels?

    Did Fish & Wildlife destroy them or release them? (Wouldn’t be surprised if they did destroy them, given how poorly this situation was managed.)

  7. GPC said at 11:04 am on February 11th, 2016:

    Good job – and pro bono! – by Attorney Doris Lin. Ms. Vacarella, wildlife advocates appreciate your kindness!

  8. Michael Young said at 11:46 am on February 11th, 2016:

    Mr. Less Big Government Governor Christie should have pardoned her or did whatever he could to end it from the start. Total BS anyway that you can’t have squirrel as a pet. If you can take care of it, shouldn’t be the government or anyone else’s business.