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
  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • 25801486.jpg VIDEO: Northern California bus crash kills 10

    At least nine people died in Northern California on Thursday night, in an accident involving a bus, a car and FedEx truck. The bus was filled with high school students from Southern California who were on their way to visit a college campus.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Graduation Salutes
Seasonal Content