Squirrel Liens and What Good are They?

Records Preservation Committee
By Dorothy Oksner, Co-Chair
Along with Land Records, Squirrel Liens can be useful to locate a missing ancestor who owned or occupied property in the county in which you are researching.
The lien can reveal who owned and/or occupied the property, the property’ legal description, and the dollar amount of the lien.
In Santa Barbara County, liens were filed under and in accordance with the provisions of Ordinance No. 365 of the County of Santa Barbara, entitled “An Ordinance to Abate the Squirrel Nuisance in the County of Santa Barbara,” passed and adopted the 3rd day of March, 1914, by the Board of Supervisors of said Santa Barbara County.  If a property owner or occupant did not eradicate the ground squirrels on his property, the squirrel district inspectors did eradicate the squirrels and charged the owner/occupant for the expense. No research was conducted to see if this ordinance had been repealed.
Among Santa Barbara County’s Squirrel Liens, we found a lien for the eradication of noxious weeds, known as “poison hemlock,” conium maculatum.[1] The Horticultural Commissioner, Eugene S. Kellogg, oversaw this problem and caused a lien to be filed on property for the owner’s non-payment of the eradicated noxious weeds. Since Kellogg was the Horticultural Commissioner and oversaw the ground squirrel problem, his noxious weed lien was filed in the same book as the Squirrel Liens.
The Records Preservation Committee members Michol Colgan scanned and Helen Rydell indexed Book A of Squirrel Liens containing 21 records dating from 1917 to 1923. The index can be found on the SBCGS website, sbgen.org.
See an Example of a lien for squirrel eradication (page 2). (page 3)
[1] A highly poisonous biennial herbaceous flowering plant in the carrot family Apiaceae, native to Europe and North Africa. A hardy plant capable of living in a variety of environments, hemlock is widely naturalized in locations outside its native range, such as parts of North and South America, Australia and West Asia, to which it has been introduced. Wikipedia.