The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Community News Network

February 19, 2013

'Squirrel Slam' leaves town up in arms

HOLLEY, N.Y. — An event that went largely unnoticed in this small western New York village for years, drew  a much different response this year when a crowd showed up to protest the 7th annual “Squirrel Slam.”

The yearly Holley Fire Department fundraiser is much like a summertime fishing derby, but with red and gray squirrels instead of carp and catfish as the target. Some saw it as harmless fun,  but others viewed it as a killing contest.

Perhaps spurred by a social media campaign, calls began flooding into  the local fire department. Some simply complained about the activity, others offered veiled threats, organizers said.

While hunters took to the fields and wooded areas not far from Lake Ontario, opponents of the event massed in Holley’s public square last weekend to rail against the contest. Authorities said 28 law enforcement officials from at least five agencies were on hand to maintain peace.

In recent weeks groups like Friends of Animals, Animal Advocates of Western New York and Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate New York had tried to prevent the event from happening.

“This has gone on for too long,” New York Friends of Animals Director Edita Birnkrandt said. “People here were outraged, It’s happening right in their backyard.”

The response didn’t faze the fire department, which proceeded with the event as planned.

“They can call us whatever they want,” Event Chairperson Tina Reed said. “I’m proud of what we have here.”

At $10 each, all of the 1,000 tickets sold out -- 400 more than last year.  The fire department uses proceeds from the Squirrel Slam to purchase equipment not covered under its budget.

“We’ve never had this happen before — it’s a zoo,” Holley Police Chief William Murphy said.

The fury over the event brought out villagers who sat on both sides of the issue, many who said they’ve never noticed the occasion in past years. Bonnie Fleischauer, who lives four blocks from the fire hall, said she thought the postings from her friends were a joke.

“I’ve supported the fire department, they’re a good group of guys ... always helping people,” said Feischauer, an avid animal photographer and former wildlife rehabilitator, who spoke from the main protesting area. “This is so in opposition to what they represent the other 364 days of the year.”

Across the street, supporters of the event said the negative attention had pulled together the small village and the larger hunting community.

One man who watched from an area that later became the base of the pro-event counter-protesters, said,  “I’m not a hunter, but I support the fire department ... (opponents) tried to implicate this as giving guns to kids. That upset me. This is all done to the letter of the law.”

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regulates hunting for small game animals like squirrels, rabbits and raccoons. In all areas north of New York City, a licensed hunter can take up to six gray, black and fox squirrels from sunrise to sunset each day from Sept. 1 to Feb. 28. Red squirrels are unprotected and can be hunted at any time without limit.

---

Details for this stoy were provided by Jim Krencik, a reporter for The Medina (N.Y.) Journal-Register.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 20110929_bowling.jpg Why fewer people go bowling

    Like other industries facing tough economic times, America's bowling centers are trying to reinvent themselves.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • President Barack Obama mug Best president? Worst president? Don't read too much into those polls

    The questions about who are the best and worst post-WWII presidents are useless. What they mainly show is that Republicans are far more unified around a single story than are Democrats.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • lawgrad.jpg Things looking up for law school grads

    This might sound weird, but here goes: Now might be a pretty good time to think about law school. For the sixth year running, the employment rate fell, as schools produced a record number of graduates for an industry without the room for them. There was, however, a nugget of good news buried in the data.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140625-AMX-HEALTH-EXERCISE252.jpg Fitness program caters to people with developmental disabilities

    Spirit - which stands for "Social Physical Interactive Respectful Inclusive Teamwork" - offers classes that help clients with developmental disabilities build muscle, increase flexibility and improve their diets. As a population, they have limited opportunities when it comes to health, Smith says. "And a lot need more social interaction," he adds.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • twitter.jpg Mobile web siphoning revenue from U.S. cities as landlines fade

    Tweeting, Facebooking, Skyping smartphone users are costing U.S. states and cities revenue as taxes rooted in old-fashioned telephone service fail to keep up with the Internet era.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 10.42.53 AM.png VIDEO: Police say thief forgets to log off Facebook while robbing home

    A Minnesota man was jailed after he logged on to Facebook from a home he broke into, then forgot to log out.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • breaking-up.jpg Thinking about breaking up? Flip a coin

    In their latest book, 'Think Like a Freak," Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner suggest that, contrary to what many people have told you in life, you should quit. That is, when things get tough, you shouldn't always tough them out and stick with it. Instead, you should quit and do so sooner rather than later.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Starbucks tests Greek yogurt smoothies in California, Missouri

    Starbucks Corp., which started selling handmade sodas in the southern United States Tuesday, is now testing three flavors of Greek-yogurt smoothies as it continues trying to broaden its appeal beyond coffee.

    June 24, 2014

  • Bq6uCTrCQAAlzeo.jpg Tornado touches down near Indianapolis

    A band of storms containing heavy rains, lightning and gusting winds spawned at least one tornado near Indianapolis Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

Graduation Salutes
Seasonal Content