Killing of squirrels sends awful message

I was appalled recently to find out about the annual Squirrel Slam fundraiser sponsored by the Holley Fire Department in Orleans County. This “family fun” day makes a sport of killing defenseless squirrels just for the sake of it. Raising money for a fire department does not justify this senseless killing of wildlife.

Can’t these people find a less violent way to spend time with their kids and obtain funds? Teaching children that killing a wild animal without respect or remorse for that animal’s life is, in my opinion, contributing to the increasing violence found in schools and public places around this country. Sending the message that firefighters, who are traditionally seen as protectors of human and animal lives, condone this kind of violent behavior is deplorable.

I’ve been a licensed wildlife rehabilitator since the late ’90s and have spent countless hours and my own money in efforts to help injured and orphaned wild animals, including squirrels. I will not hesitate to help an animal in need whenever the occasion arises. I have also been witness to animals that have been shot by hunters and left to die an agonizing death. How many of these poor squirrels will only be maimed by amateur hunters, not to mention all the many squirrels that will die senselessly because of someone’s warped sense of fun?

Violence against any animal for the sake of entertainment or fundraising is unacceptable in these precarious times. What a peaceful world it would be if people would teach their children how to have respect for all the inhabitants of this planet, including wild animals.

Clarissa Harison