OLYMPIA, Wash. - The state Capitol's landscaping crews have been violating the ban on mole traps for years, a state spokesman said Tuesday.
"It was just an oversight on the part of our grounds staff," said General Administration spokesperson Steve Valandra.
Valandra said the crews were, "Unaware these sort of traps were outlawed."
Voters approved the ban on so-called "body gripping" traps in 2000.
The grounds crews were using seven of the banned traps in the late winter months prior to the traditional mole mating season. On average, 24 moles are trapped and killed a year, according to Valandra.
The state removed the traps Tuesday morning after State Representative Joel Kretz, R-Okanagan County, alerted Fish and Wildlife officials.
"To me, it's a real good example of the arrogance in Olympia," said Rep. Kretz, "The citizens are not able to operate like this."
A Fish and Wildlife spokesperson said the General Administration Department received a warning about the traps. Warnings are traditionally issued to first-time offenders.
The grounds crews are looking at alternative pest control measures, said Valandra.