Case Snapshot
Case ID: 6829
Classification: Mutilation/Torture
Animal: squirrel
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Reward: $1,000
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Friday, Dec 23, 2005

County: Dallas

Disposition: Open

Suspect(s) Unknown - We need your help!

The SPCA and police are still puzzled about why three squirrels were nailed to a wooden fence in a University Park neighborhood. The dead squirrels were found Dec. 23, pinned by their shoulders to the fence, which lines an alley near University Boulevard and Hillcrest Road.

Police say they're limited in what they can do because they're not sure whether a crime was committed. "Domesticated animals, such as dogs or cats, are protected by the animal-cruelty law," University Park police Officer Lita Snellgrove said. "Squirrels aren't part of that."
But James Bias, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Dallas, said the state's animal-cruelty law can cover squirrels and other wild animals, depending on how they were treated. "Most of the time, law enforcement is going to look at the provision of domesticated animals," Mr. Bias said. "But the penal code also addresses captive wild animals. If you shoot a squirrel, you're hunting, so you're not going to be guilty of animal cruelty. But once it's captive, and someone starves it or is cruel to it, it becomes" animal cruelty.

Residents in the 3400 block of University Boulevard said they hadn't heard about the squirrels. Officer Snellgrove said she didn't know who reported the incident to police. "They could have been dead when they were nailed, but we can't tell," she said. What may have been a cruel prank could indicate a more serious problem, Mr. Bias said.

A survey by the Humane Society of the United States has shown a link between animal cruelty and child abuse. "Some people might say, 'It's just three squirrels,' " Mr. Bias said. "But next year, it might be a schoolyard shooting. In two to three years, it could be an entire family. There are enough examples to say there can be a connection."

The SPCA is offering $1,000 for information leading to an arrest or an indictment if the case is determined to be an act of animal cruelty.

If you have information on this case, please contact:
SPCA Dallas Texas


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