Law Enforcement
Northeast Region

For immediate release
Aug. 2, 2011
News media: for further information, contact:
Bill Butcher, USFWS, 413-253-8339 or 413-658-7356                              

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expresses regret to Virginia woman for unintended wildlife citation

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expresses regret to a Virginia woman, Alison Capo, for a wildlife citation she mistakenly received from the agency.

On June 13, a special agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service observed a woman carrying a cage that contained a woodpecker at a home improvement store in Fredericksburg, Virginia. As possession of a bird may potentially violate the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the agent initiated an inquiry to determine whether a potential violation had occurred.

Upon speaking with Ms. Capo, on June 27, the agent determined that no further action was warranted. A citation that had been previously drafted by the agent was cancelled on June 28.

Unfortunately, the citation was processed unintentionally through an automated system despite our office’s request to cancel the ticket. The Service has contacted Ms. Capo to express our regret. The Service is also sending Ms. Capo a formal letter explaining the clerical error and confirming that ticket should never have been issued. The ticket is null and void.

The Service is responsible for the protection of all federally protected migratory birds. The agency encourages anyone who finds an injured bird to contact state or federal wildlife officials.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries did not participate in the inquiry.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and download photos from our Flickr page at

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Last updated: January 23, 2012