I recently read an article in the Watertown Daily Times that I could hardly believe.
Jeffrey T. Garnsey, who runs an animal rescue service called Garnsey’s Feral Acres, was arrested for keeping a squirrel. He took the squirrel in at a few days old to save its life. Its mother and other littermates had been killed. He saved this squirrel’s life. And since then, he has nourished, fed and kept it alive and has become very attached to it. The squirrel also has become attached to him.
According to the article, the state Department of Environmental Conservation came in June 30 and confiscated the squirrel from him and came back a few days later and charged him with illegal possession of wildlife . It appears the law does not let a human keep a wild animal without a permit.
This is a squirrel, not some rare endangered species that could cause harm to other individuals. I’m sure many other people have squirrels as pets. Is the DEC going to go on a mission and arrest all the people that happen to have squirrels or some little wild animals as a pet at their homes?
Mr. Garnsey, a Clayton native, operates an animal rescue, Feral Acres, where he cares for rescued animals including pigs cows goats dogs donkeys and cats. He says he spends 75 percent of his retirement income taking care of these animals. It appears that some woman brought the baby squirrel, which had lost its siblings and mother, to Mr. Garnsey hoping he might keep it alive. He nurtured it for 16 weeks and then tried to let it return to the wild.
Mr. Garnsey says he tried to turn Tyrian, as he named it, back to the wild, but he refused to leave. The squirrel had imprinted Mr. Guernsey as his caretaker and they developed a strong bond, as any young animals would when being nurtured from a very young age.
Does the DEC have nothing better to do than to harass and arrest someone who’s doing a good service for nature? Maybe it should go out and look for some of the people who are misusing animals instead of going after someone who is taking care of them. I hope that something will be done so that this squirrel can be returned to Mr. Guernsey; he sure deserves it, and he has been very mistreated as far as I can see.
Many people shoot squirrels because they are pests around their houses. Here, we are arresting someone for keeping and taking care of one. Doesn’t make sense to me.