May 31, 2016
La Porte, IN – The wildlife advocacy non-profit, Center for Wildlife Ethics (CWE), filed a complaint with the Office of the Inspector General on behalf of its client, Melodie Liddle, against an official at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).
The complaint alleges that a government official violated an ethics rule when he used state equipment to surreptitiously tape record a phone conversation with Ms. Liddle. Liddle’s attorneys argue agency personnel ran afoul of the Ethics Code when using government property for an unauthorized purpose. Recording telephone conversations initiated by the agency does not further any “official state business” and was not “expressly permitted by a general written policy, departmental or institutional policy or regulation.”
CWE’s attorneys further argue that the IDNR official’s failure to inform Liddle that she was being recorded was a violation of her privacy and defies the public’s trust and “confidence that state business is always for the public good.”
The phone conversation stemmed from IDNR’s decision to permit lethal wildlife trapping on state parks properties that resulted in the death of Ms. Liddle’s beloved dog, Copper, who was crushed in one of the powerful steel traps situated near a roadway at Versailles State Park.
Following the violent death of her dog, Ms. Liddle hoped to prevent another tragedy by urging the agency to re-evaluate its policy of hiding indiscriminate traps throughout state park properties with no warning or disclosure of trap locations to park visitors.
According to Ms. Liddle, “IDNR law enforcement refused to speak with me. I never received a call until the media got involved. The IDNR official did not disclose his position, so [when he called] I just assumed he was acting in a law enforcement capacity. Had I known he was from the communications department, I would have ended the call immediately.”
Founded in 1998, The Center for Wildlife Ethics is a 501c3 organization dedicated to exposing and combating human-inflicted or state-sanctioned violence against wildlife. CWE champions effective environmental activism by targeting systemic harm and uncovering the true agenda that sustains the violence and exploitation of animals and their habitats.
Additional information about the pending civil lawsuit arising from the death of Liddle’s dog or the ethics complaint can be obtained by sending a detailed request to firstname.lastname@example.org.