Last week a Connecticut couple filed a lawsuit against the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, accusing the department of violating their Fourth Amendment rights by attaching a camera to a bear to spy on their property without a warrant. The couple, Mark and Carol Brault, allege the department affixed a camera to the bear and released it near their land earlier this year, effectively turning the bear into an agent of the state to take pictures on their property without a warrant. The lawsuit seeks an injunction requiring the department to remove and disable cameras on any tagged bears within 10 miles of their home and to destroy all photos already obtained. The allegations come amid an ongoing lawsuit against the Braults accusing the couple of unlawfully feeding bears on their property.
Following news of the lawsuit, Robert Frommer, Senior Attorney at the Institute for Justice and director of its Fourth Amendment Project, released the following statement:
“Government agents equipping bears with cameras and releasing them to spy on citizens is an un-bear-ably intrusive tactic that tramples on the Constitution. Turning wild animals into roving surveillance tools violates our fundamental right to be secure on our property. It’s an outrageous overreach, and we’re glad to hear the Braults are fighting to stop the tactic in its tracks.”