Greenacres woman accused of electrocuting squirrels faces legal trouble

A Greenacres woman faces the possibility of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines after she was charged with animal cruelty for electrocuting squirrels.

SCRAPS Animal Protection Officer Ted Adams said Mary Franks was charged with nine counts of animal cruelty. Franks was fed up with squirrels stealing her walnuts, so she rigged a fence up around the trunk of her tree and attached it to a nearby electric fence.

Authorities say the contraption killed nine squirrels.

Adams said that last October, someone saw dead squirrels hanging from the fence, which was easily visible from the road. Franks told that passerby that she was keeping their carcasses on the fence “to deter the other squirrels from coming on and they are my trophies.”

“The way it was done was inhumane,” Adams said. “The squirrels were electrocuted and in the process, their paws were burned to the fence.”

According to SCRAPS, the charges stem from the way the squirrels were killed. SCRAPS said the animals suffered. Veterinarians also said it would caused a prolonged and painful death for the animals.

Adams said there are other ways to deal with rodents, rather than killing them.

“There is other options. Killing an animal is not the first option. It’s not the best option. Look into other means of deterring the animals from coming onto the property,” Adams said.

Franks’ attorney, Brendan Kidd, said his client didn’t intend to make the animals suffer and he intends to prove that in court.

“It certainly looks like she’s not intending to inflict undue suffering and it certainly looks like there is no undue suffering going on,” Kidd said. “It looks like a couple of squirrels instantaneously died.”

Kidd went on to call the case a waste of money for the county.

“We’re talking about thousands of taxpayer dollars to prosecute a felony for a 69-year-old woman who has no criminal history and is accused of zapping a bunch of squirrels that were trying to steal walnuts off her tree,” Kidd said. “It’s ridiculous.”

Animal cruelty is considered a felony in Washington. Each felony count could cost Franks up to $10,000 in fines and five years in prison.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for May 1.

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