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Outrage over video showing squirrel being pepper-sprayed

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Police were called to Kimbrough Middle School in Mesquite, Texas, after a squirrel was seen behaving erratically. The concern was that this can be a sign of rabies.

As a baby squirrel hopped towards a policeman in the grounds of a school, he took out his pepper spray, apparently to defend himself against the potentially infected animal. As school children pleaded with the officer not to harm the creature, the squirrel advanced and the man reacted by spraying it. The squirrel became disorientated and started writhing on the ground.

A Mesquite Animal Control officer was called and cleaned the spray off the squirrel. After being given a satisfactory bill of health, it was released back into the wild.

A video recording of the pepper-spraying incident, made by students, generated outrage after it was posting on YouTube. Having received over 700,000 views in one week, comments on the video are split between those condemning the officer's actions as heavy-handed, and those sympathising with his need to maintain personal safety in the face of a possibly rabid animal.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 4 (5 votes)

Nobody had a box or something else to hold the squirrel until animal control showed up? Pepperspray seems a tad excessive for a baby animal showing some natural curiosity - guess the cop is giving it it's first life lesson, don't trust cops :P

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

I agree that it was a tad excessive, but there was an animal that was possibly rabid, and there were children involved. I think most people would agree that the safety of the children was more important than the safety of a baby squirrel. But the squirrel turned out fine and was released and life goes on.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Then what they should have done is have the children go back indoors and remove themselves from the equation. The cop could have used a box or something to trap the squirrel until animal control came by, even a broom or something along those lines could have shooed it away.

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

That's my take on the matter too--regardless of what measures the police did or didn't use to keep the animal at bay, the issue here is that the teachers didn't send the students inside away from the [i]potentially rabid creature[/i]. Seriously, WTF?!

Smile! The world could use another happy person.

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (5 votes)

I might catch some flack for saying this, but that is the real outrage. The fandom and the Internet at large tends to have this unrealistic idea about "OMG we have to say the poor sweet little woodland creatures!!!!!!11!1!!". That's nice to a point, but the way this situation should have been handled was the children moved back inside, animal control called, and if a potentially rabid animal moved toward the person handling the situation, he should have defended himself. I don't think the cop did anything wrong. He went by the standard playbook.

Your rating: None

Better then what could have happened, I know if an animal is suspected to be rabid, the usual response is to kill first and ask questions later (if any are asked at all).

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Yes, that is the general rule of thumb. I know someone will tell me i'm evil, but as a biologist that action wasn't entirely bad. The main thing wrong with that video is that the children shouldn't have been outside. Honestly the cop acted in a very good way.

Your rating: None

A box would've been a better option, but at least the squirrel wasn't hurt or even killed
like most. :P
Honestly I'm just glad the thing's ok.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

A box increases the chance for contact and thus possible contagion.

Your rating: None

It's a rat with good PR...

Your rating: None

Sounds like somebody watched Over the Hedge one too many times.

Your rating: None

"Small rodents like squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rats, and mice) and lagomorphs including rabbits and hares are almost never found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to transmit rabies to humans."

http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/exposure/animals/other.html

The officer was just another ignorant person making a fool of himself on YouTube.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

Like the average person knows that? I didn't know that. I'm assuming the only reason you know that is because you looked it up. How often does it come across someone's mind "oh I'm going to look up what animals can and can't get rabies." Unless your a vet or a biologist, that's not common knowledge. He wasn't being a fool, he was being sane.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

If you look on the sidebar on the vid, there are several videos of baby squirrels following other people. Nothing that the animal was doing was 'charging' or erratic, especially for a squirrel. The cop should have gotten the people away and let animal control do their job.

It wasn't his place to deal with an animal that was not exhibiting any signs of advanced rabies (ex: severe disorientation, foaming of the mouth, and actually attempting to attack), it was animal controls. He didn't have to spray the damn thing. And if its acceptable to spray approaching animals now because 'no fear means it could have rabies' you can be sure there will be dozens of videos of dipshit teenagers spraying their neighbors cats within the week.

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