DEC: Man painted squirrels red to track them

A Putnam County man has been caught “red handed” for allegedly painting squirrels to track them.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation investigated a complaint in December by the Putnam County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of a person painting the squirrels red and releasing them into a nearby town park.

Environmental conservation officers conducted surveillance and observed a bright red squirrel crossing the street less than a block away from the suspect’s residence. They interviewed him on Jan. 13, and he admitted to painting the squirrels in order to track those who were returning to his yard and causing his dogs to bark, DEC said.

The man, whose name was not released, was ticketed for violations related to the trapping, transporting, and liberating of wildlife. He was also charged with mistreatment of animals.