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Woman shoots squirrel, spends 15 days in jail


Posted By: Joey Stark
Date: 3/1/2011 at 21:28:41

Note: The following items were columns pasted in a scrapbook. The only date written on them is July 1953. Most likely the clippings came from "The Fairfield (Ia.) Daily Ledger".

Draws Heavy Fine For Violation Of Conservation Law

A Fairfield woman was fined $50 and costs in local just of the peace court yesterday when she entered a plea of guilty to charges of having a squirrel in her possession out of season.

She is Mrs. Effie FISHER who was accused of shooting the squirrel from a tree. The charge was filed by a state conservation officer.


July 1953
Possibly Saturday the 25th (ref: following article)

Local Woman Scorns Fine, Begins 15-Day Jail Term

A determined Fairfield housewife began serving a 15-day jail sentence today, still firmly convinced she has the right to shoot animals that invade her property.

Mrs. Effie FISHER, 1300 S. Main street, was committed to the Jefferson county jail shortly after noon after she refused to pay a $50 fine for possession of a squirrel out of season.

"I was just protecting my property," Mrs. FISHER said this morning as she packed a suitcase in preparation for the trip to jail.

Charges against her were filed by a state conservation officer last Monday when she shot the squirrel with a rifle in the yard of her home. Mrs. FISHER entered a plea of guilty in local justice of the peace court on the same date and was given until noon today to pay the $50 fine.

"I could pay the fine and several friends have offered to pay it for me," Mrs. FISHER said, "but I can't see wasting my money that way."

Local authorities picked up Mrs. FISHER at her home after an order committing her to the custody of Sheriff Tom Howell was signed by the justice of the peace earlier this morning.

Mrs. FISHER, who contends she will continue to defend her property if necessary, was philosophical about the whole incident and expressed no dismay over the prospects of 15 days in jail.

"I've been working hard," she said, "and I'm looking forward to this as a chance for a good rest and vacation.

"I plan to take some sewing with me and lots of my friends have told me they want to come and visit me if they are permitted to do so."

But the Fairfield woman did express some curiosity over living conditions at the jail and hoped that authorities would allow her to take some of her own bedding with her.

"I've heard they have rats in the jail," she said. "I wonder if they'll let me take my rifle with me?"

Authorities said Mrs. FISHER can gain her freedom anytime during the 15-day period upon payment of the $50 fine.


Mrs. FISHER Completes 15-Day Term In Jail, But $50 Fine Still Stands

Mrs. Effie FISHER, 1300 S. Main street, was back home today after a 15-day stay in the Jefferson county jail, but a $50 fine which led to her internment is still charged against her.

Mrs. FISHER, 63, gained nationwide publicity when she went to jail July 25 for refusal to pay the fine assessed against her on a charge of shooting a squirrel out of season.

She was released from jail without fanfare yesterday and returned to her home -- still convinced she has the right to shoot squirrels which damage her trees.

But county officials said this morning the fine, handed down in justice of the peace court when Mrs. FISHER pled guilty, still stands. The jail sentence, they said, was served "in default of payment of the fine" at the rate of three and a third dollars per day.

Under Iowa law, the $50 assessment now becomes a lien against Mrs. FISHER's property and will remain as such until paid, authorities stated.

At her home this morning, Mrs. FISHER had words of praise for Sheriff Thomas Howell and the treatment she received while in jail.

"The jail is nice and clean and the meals are wonderful," she said.

"Meals were served on china dishes and the menu included fried chicken and ice cream. I also had plenty of clean linen and towels."

Mrs. FISHER referred to the cell which she occupied on the northeast corner of the jail as "my apartment." It was clean and cooler than most places during the hot weather, she commented.

"I kept busy with reading and sewing," she said, "and the time passed rapidly."

Mrs. FISHER liked the quiet which prevailed at the jail and was disturbed by barking dogs and truck traffic during her first night at home. "I thought for a while I was going to have to return to jail to get my rest," she added.

Sheriff Howell termed Mrs. FISHER "a model prisoner." A second woman, Ethel Brown, formerly of Sigourney, shared jail quarters with Mrs. FISHER during her second week. She was released this morning after failure to pay a fine resulting from an intoxication charge.

*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I am not related to the person(s) mentioned.


Jefferson Documents maintained by Joey Stark.
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