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Surprised Dog Owner's $50 Ticket Yet Another Example of Social Media's Sometimes Intrusive Reach


"...it wasn’t a good idea.”

Image source: Chicago Tribune

The letter Christine Adamski received in the mail last week was a shocker.

The Will County Forest Preserve District alleged she had used a dog park within its jurisdiction without a proper 2014 permit — and was fining her $50 for the infraction.

But Adamski hadn't used the Whalon Lake Dog Park in Naperville, Illinois — about 30 miles west of Chicago — since 2013, so the reason for the citation was a head-scratcher.

Image source: Chicago Tribune Image source: Chicago Tribune

Until the 25-year-old Boilingbrook resident got to the part about her social media post "admitting her guilt."

See, it all started when Adamski visited the Facebook page for the dog park group and posted a message concerning kennel cough among some of the canines there, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“I was feeling bad that I haven’t bought a pass and been bringing Ginger there but I’m pretty glad I haven’t,” Adamski wrote. “So not going to worry about it until later. I hope all the doggies get better soon.”

Little did Adamski know that a forest protection district employee also visited the Facebook page and noticed Adamski's comment; then said employee passed it along to a forest preserve protection officer who interpreted her comment to mean that Adamski had been a scofflaw with permit fees and was enjoying the space without coughing up the requisite cash.

“The employee had good intentions, but it wasn’t a good idea,” Lt. Tracey Phillips of the Will County Forest Preserve District Police told the Tribune on Wednesday.

After she realized what had transpired, Adamski told the paper Thursday she laughed about it all: “I was like, this is totally untrue. Obviously I’m not going to pay this.”

Forest Preserve District Executive Director Marcy DeMauro said she learned by Thursday that Adamski's citation was under review, adding that monitoring social media for inroads toward penalizing folks isn't their law enforcement's M.O.

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

While DeMauro said no disciplinary action was taken against the officer who issued the citation — who's been a forest preserve district employee since 2008 — the matter is still under review.

And then on Thursday Adamski got the call she was hoping for: Phillips told her the ticket has been rescinded.

Adamski, who operates a pet-sitting company, indicated she plans to eventually return to the dog park.

One pooch at the dog park's 2013 Halloween Hoopla. (Image source: Flickr) One pooch at the dog park's 2013 Halloween Hoopla. (Image source: Flickr)

“It’s a very nice, well kept dog park and people there are really friendly and Ginger has best friends there that she always plays with,” she told the Tribune.

And once Adamski's fellow dog park Facebook group members learned of her plight, they've been supportive.

“It’s nice feeling loved like that,” Adamski said.

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