Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Squirrel Trouble

Squirrels have taken up residence in the garage.  Over the summer, I pointed out a hole between the roof and the wall as a potential problem for birds.  During the summer and Fall, Eddie and I laughed and cheered on the squirrels that skittered across the garage roof.  Then I stood helpless and upset as I watched one lone squirrel facing the hurricane on its apex.  I yelled at it to get down but it did not listen. Never did I put two and two together, thinking that squirrels would go through the hole and live inside.  If they could do that, they should have done it during the superstorm. 

Yesterday, I arrived home to find two traps on the garage roof.  I immediately called my landlord (aka my mother) and asked about the traps. She said they were humane traps; the squirrels would be caught alive.  I asked then what.  She said that the company comes once a week to check the traps.  I squealed, Once a week???  How will they live????  What will they eat????   She asked, Are you going to feed them?  No hesitation, I said, Yes, I will give them nuts and acorns and set them free.  No you won't, she said.

This morning, Eddie called me on his way to work as I was getting out of the shower.  I don't want to upset you, he said, but go look out my back window.  Two squirrels were writhing around, one in each trap.  I yelled to the squirrels, Oh no you must live you must live! 

Then, the activist in me kicked in.  I made signs:

Let my squirrels go.

Squirrels deserve freedom.

Free the squirrels.

I went down to my landlords' (parents') floor and taped up the signs.  It was about 8 AM, too early for retired people to be awake, so I figured I could start with the signs and then begin the harassing phone calls a bit later on followed by emails and chanting.

I didn't even make it to the phone call portion of the protest.  My landlord (mom) called to tell me she'd called the company and they were coming to get the squirrels today.  I asked what if more than one got into the trap.  She said the traps were big enough.  I asked, what if they start eating each other.  They're not going to eat each other, she assured me.

They didn't eat each other.  Only one squirrel per trap stayed trapped until the trap guy came.  My other landlord (dad) was talking with the guy, learning all about how smart all the different rodents are (racoons and rats are the smartest), when I was getting into my car.  He called out, We got two of them!  The guy turned around to show me and I asked, What do you do with them...set them out into the wild?  The guy laughed at me.

So when I came home, I went directly into my landlords' (parents') house and asked, Umm, what are they doing with the squirrels?  She told me, I thought that they set them free, but apparently they follow laws about humanely killing them.  Also, they come once a day, not once a week.

Kill them?  Why set up traps that keep them alive only to kill them?  Why can't we set them out into the forest to play with their chipmunk and rabbit friends?  And once a day?  That's only good if they set them free.  Now it's just taking them to their death daily.

They gas them.


Do you want squirrels living in the house?  Do you want to go smell the garage?

Um, no.

Okay so then the traps stay until no more squirrels go into the garage.

Well, I'm writing a very strong letter to the exterminator about how squirrels have friends.

But I wrote this instead.  My signs still hang on their walls.

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