A couple has claimed that the state of Connecticut put a camera on a wandering bear to illegally film their property.
Mark and Carol Brault allege that the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) attached a camera to a bear that the agency knew frequents the couple’s 117-acre forested property in Hartland, Connecticut.
The Connecticut Post reports that the couple is now suing the state for turning the wild bear into a spy by strapping a camera on it to illegally film their property. The Braults have also filed an injunction to get the photographic evidence destroyed.
According to the publication, the lawsuit is the latest development in a years-long dispute between the Braults and the town of Hartland, which accuses Mark of illegally feeding bears in violation of town ordinances.
Brault is a part-owner of Nature Havens, which asks guests to pay a fee for the chance of seeing wildlife, including bears. Meanwhile, DEEP is responsible for monitoring bear activity in the state and has increasingly been called in to remove problem animals.
‘He Noticed The Bear Had a Camera’
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Hartford, the couple alleges a violation of their Fourth Amendment rights against the unreasonable search of their property.
According to the couple’s request for an injunction, a bear bearing an identifying tag and a camera entered the Brault’s property earlier in May — which Mark had seen before.
“He noticed that the bear now had not just an ear tag but a collar, and so he got on his camera and zoomed in on the bear, and not only did it have a collar, but the collar had a camera on it,” attorney John R. Williams, who is representing the Braults, tells The Connecticut Post.
“That’s a bear that the DEEP knows is a frequenter of the property. So what does that say to me? That says to me that they’re engaging in a warrantless search of his property.”
The couple’s attorney claims DEEP had intentionally affixed the camera to that specific bear knowing it would enter the Brault’s property.
“It’s like sending in a robot, I guess, with a camera on and you can’t do that without getting a warrant,” adds Williams.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.