Ear Hustle

Woman issued citation by authorities for Facebook comment

The Facebook logo is pictured at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park


Will County Forest Preserve District officials said today they will rescind a ticket that was issued solely because of a Facebook comment made by a Bolingbrook woman.

The woman was issued a citation carrying a $50 fine May 20 after a forest preserve protection officer interpreted a comment on Facebook to mean the woman had been using a dog park without a permit.

The comment in question was posted in response to concerns some dog owners had about kennel cough among some dogs at Whalon Lake Dog Park in Bolingbrook. The woman posted: “I was feeling bad that I haven’t bought a pass and been bringing Ginger there but I’m pretty glad I haven’t. So not going to worry about it until later. I hope all the doggies get better soon.”

A forest preserve district employee noticed the comment and forwarded it to a forest preserve protection officer, who took the comment to mean the woman was using the dog park without a permit.

“The employee had good intentions, but it wasn’t a good idea,” Lt. Tracey Phillips said of the citation.

The woman posted about the citation on the dog park page and noted the citation came with a letter stating she had posted on a social media site that she had “knowingly entered a dog park without a valid 2014 permit.”

“That’s dead wrong,” the woman wrote. “I haven’t gone there since 2013!”

Forest Preserve District Executive Director Marcy DeMauro said she contacted the district’s police chief Tuesday about the citation and learned it

was already under review. DeMauro stressed the district does not monitor social media in search of potential law breakers nor does the district issue a citation based on a post made on a social media site.

“We treat any information like that as a tip and that has to be verified before any action is taken on our part,” she said adding, “We would go to the dog park to see if that individual is actually there and using the dog park without a permit.”

DeMauro said no disciplinary action has been taken against the officer who issued the citation but noted the issue is still under review. The officer who issued the citation has been an employee of the forest preserve district since 2008. Forest preserve district officials declined to identify the officer.

District officials were trying to reach the woman who received the citation to apologize and inform her that they are rescinding the ticket, DeMauro said this afternoon.


Source:  Chicagotribune.com



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