Authorities in New York are advising people not to paint squirrels.
"Never thought we'd have to say this, but DON'T PAINT SQUIRRELS!" the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation wrote in the first message of a thread on X.
The agency said that investigators noticed several squirrels had been spray-painted red and were wandering around a park in the town of Patterson in late December. A few weeks later, they identified a suspect who lived nearby and spoke to him at his home.
The man admitted that he trapped the squirrels, spray-painted them red, and then released them into a park near his house. He explained he did it so he could track which squirrels were wandering into his yard and causing his dogs to bark.
The suspect, who was not identified, was issued tickets for "violations related to the trapping, transporting, and liberating of wildlife." He was also charged with mistreatment of animals by detectives with the Putnam County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.