http://mv-voice.com/print/story/print/2007/02/23/city-finally-traps-a-squirrel


Mountain View Voice

News - February 23, 2007

City finally traps a squirrel

Decoy baby stroller used to lure prime suspect in scratching case

by Daniel DeBolt

After setting its sights on a small band of aggressive squirrels in Cuesta Park, the city has succeeded in trapping and euthanizing one squirrel so far — by using a baby stroller as bait.

Going on the assumption that the squirrels responsible for a dozen attacks since May are also the few rummaging through strollers for food, the city placed a live capture cage next to a stroller with food inside. After the squirrel searched the stroller, it made its way into the trap to take the bait.

"The one we caught was literally in the stroller," said Dave Muela, community services director.

The city is pursuing six Cuesta squirrels that a city-hired wildlife biologist believes are responsible for several bites and scratches to children last year. At least one incident involved an infant, who was scratched several times below his eye while he held a juice box which a squirrel apparently wanted. The uniquely aggressive behavior has not been reported anywhere else, experts say.

Muela said there have been no scratching or biting incidents since the last one was reported Jan. 7, which involved a child. The city followed the attack with an announcement that its plans to trap and kill the squirrels had not gone away since the controversial September announcement.

But instead of using body-crushing traps recommended by the state Department of Fish and Game, the city is now using live traps, and the squirrels will be transported elsewhere to be euthanized with chloroform gas. City officials said the traps will be set while few visitors are in the park.

An online petition opposing the killing of the squirrels started circulating last year, after the story received coverage in the national news in September. The number of signatures has grown from 680 to 850 since the city re-confirmed its plans last month. Of the 850 signatures, 20 are from Mountain View residents.

Local resident Traci Terluin wrote that she signed because "the residents of Mountain View caused the problem by choices they made and shouldn't be killing innocent animals that do not have the ability to make choices. And, parents should be keeping an eye on their kids."

Last year the city began a series of efforts to stop the attacks, including park ranger patrols, squirrel-proof trash cans and large signs in several languages declaring the children's play area a no-food zone. Laws prevent the city from simply moving the squirrels elsewhere, despite frustrated calls from petition signers to do so.

Kevin Duggan, city manager, has said that above all else, the safety of children is the city's top priority.

Muela said it is hoped that once the aggressive squirrels are removed, other measures will prevent the remaining squirrels from developing the same behavior.

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

Comments

Posted by RajIndia, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 22, 2007 at 1:14 pm

I hate squirrels.


Posted by A concerned mom, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 22, 2007 at 6:30 pm

20 people from Mtn. View signed the petition out of 850? If you don't live in Mtn. View, you really should not be part of how we remedy the problem.

I no longer take my son to Cuesta because of this problem. I would consider taking him back IF the City of Mtn. View was allowed to capture the squirrels as the Department of Fish and Game suggests.

What would those 850 petitioners say if a child (who was being watched by his parents) was scratched, bitten or hurt by a squirrel? I can imagine the response..."You guys made the problem so too bad."

The bad thing is that I have seen parents (myself included) trying to get their infant away from an aggressive squirrel who is intent upon finding food even when there is none available. This is a very dangerous situation.


Posted by deb, a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Hello-you do not have to LIVE in Mountain View. Many people work in Mt. View and also visit there. Not to sound harsh but if this was the view that we only care about our "own" area what kind of a world would we live in? We need to care not only for the animals but also the people all around the world. If people would follow rules and not bring food into the no-food area the innocent animals would not try to feed. It is like placing a bone in front of a dog and expecting them not to beg.
It is a sad situation for all involved. I just hate to see any animal killed and even more so any child injured. thanks


Posted by C., a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2008 at 2:27 pm

If people stopped shopping and spending the almighty green in your city would you then find it ok to speak up over a Mt. View problem?
This is why it is called the Bay area or a community.


Posted by worldhistoricalgenius, a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I visited Mountain View a few years ago and spect time in Cuesta Park where I heard about this issue. I'm surprised by the lack of creativity here. Where I live (Maine) the squirrels would have been trapped and killed after the first child-mauling but that's because we're obviously simple and backwards. I would expect Californians to have shown much more grace under pressure. Why not send in a negotiator, fluent in squirrel chatter? Perhaps the offenders would have taken a deal for a condo in Palo Alto or timeshare on Monterey Bay. The city also made no effort to reach out to the other squirrels who were modeling acceptable squirrel behavior to do an intervention with their aberrant cousins. What are these survivors to do now? They have no support network through which to work out their grief and anger at this sciuricide. Nevermind the fact that the city should have held a referendum for the public to vote on the issue. Without the opportunity to rally, picket, attend public hearings and form interest groups, what are the people supposed to do in between trips to Jamba Juice and 24 Hour Fitness?

Please come join the rest of us in reality whenever you're ready.