Squirrel Fines (and the People that Impose them)

Andy Binion’s squirrel story is certainly the talk of our web site this morning, as the “cute yet verminous” critters (according to one source) are taking Bremerton, and the county, by storm.

Photo by Lenna Himmelstein

After reading the story, county resident Robert Leurquin called me this morning with a question about fining folks who feed the not too fastidious creatures.

Under whose authority can Kitsap County Animal Control dole out fines for squirrel feeding offenders?

For the answer, I called upon Rance McEntyre, head of Kitsap County Animal Control (and quoted in Andy’s story). Here’s the scoop:

McEntyre said animal control officers prefer to use education over enforcement — talking to the squirrel feeders and letting them know the dangers of an ever-increasing, vigilant critter population — but fines of about $156 can be issued.

That much we knew from Andy’s story. But how is animal control able to write such fines?

Any viewer to Animal Planet’s show Animal Cops would see that such officers write plenty of tickets, reports one of my coworkers, fellow reporter Brynn Grimley. But as officers, they are unique in that they are employed not by the government but the Kitsap Humane Society, a private not-for-profit.

That said, McEntyre continued, they are sworn officers in Kitsap County Superior Court. And with Kitsap County, and each of Kitsap’s four cities — Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, Bremerton and Port Orchard — they have contracts for their services.

Each of those government entities count on animal control officers to enforce their respective municipal or county codes. And that includes fines.

So there you have it, Robert. For links to the various codes, here’s some useful links.

Port Orchard Municipal Code

Poulsbo Municipal Code

Bremerton Municipal Code

Bainbridge Island Municipal Code

Kitsap County Code

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