Friday, January 25, 2013

Holley, NY Planning Squirrel Bloodbath!

The town of Holley, New York is certainly no friend to squirrels. The fire department of this small upstate community is planning to hold their seventh annual "Hazzard County Squirrel Slam," a yearly celebration of death on February 16. The "Squirrel Slam" is organized for the mass killing of squirrels, with prizes given to the individuals who kill the most and the largest of the animals. What is even more disturbing is that the prizes will be given in "adult" and "youth" categories. That's right: children will be encouraged to take up guns and kill harmless squirrels for no reason other than "fun" and "entertainment," and given prizes based on their efficiency and skill at this pointless killing.

There is no telling how many squirrels will be arbitrarily killed at this event. And what's more, many others will be wounded and maimed, many of them left to crawl away to suffer and die slowly. Furthermore, with the even held in mid-February, some female squirrels may well have recently given birth, only to be killed and leave their young alone to starve to death.

Sounds like fun, right?

Here is the flyer for this year's blood rite:


Notice that in addition to the cash prizes, a drawing will be held to give away several guns, including--as an extra macabre touch--a .22 caliber AR-15, a version of the assault weapon used in the slaughter of school children in Connecticut last month and several other mass killings.

It's one thing to hunt an animal for food, as needed, and for many people in America and elsewhere this is a tradition that, as distasteful as I find it, I would not deprive them of. But to simply slaughter animals for no reason, in as large numbers as possible, and to celebrate this pointless slaughter as a community event with prizes... and then to encourage children to participate in the bloodbath, teaching them that pointless, arbitrary killing is fun... is beyond disturbing. The only word that comes close that I can think of is an abomination.

I am asking anyone who reads this to join me in raising our voices against this event:

1. There is a Facebook page dedicated to protesting and stopping the Squirrel Slam. Please "Like" the page to add your voice to those opposing the slaughter.

2. You can call the mayor of Holley, NY, John W. Kenney, Jr. at 585-638-6367, and/or email him at mayor@villageofholley.org. I am including the text of my letter to Mayor Kenney at the bottom of this post. You can paraphrase as you see fit, but whatever you do, please be respectful but clear about your disgust at this event.

3. There are at least two petitions asking the town to stop this event. Here is one. And here is the other. I have signed both, and I hope you will too. I considered starting my own petition, but I feel that too many separate petitions might dilute the message and reduce their effectiveness, as some people may just sign one.

4. Most important, please spread this information by whatever means you have--Facebook, Twitter, email, and word of mouth. This isn't just about squirrels, it's about all cases of killing and cruelty to animals for public entertainment.

Here is my letter to the mayor of Holley, NY:

To: Mayor John W. Kenney, Jr.

I was troubled last night to learn of the planned event to be held by your town's fire department, the "Hazzard County Squirrel Slam," an annual event at which squirrels will be killed in a contest with prizes given to those who kill the biggest squirrels.


Although I choose not to kill animals for any reason, I can understand hunting to obtain food. But to hold a local festival celebrating the mass slaughter of an animal for no other reason than "fun" or "entertainment" is pointless cruelty that I and countless other find horrific. And to then encourage children to take up guns and participate in this slaughter--teaching them that killing for no reason is fun--is just utterly disturbing.


Please do whatever is necessary to stop this event, and replace it with one that celebrates life instead of death.


Thank you,


Update: You can contact the Holley Fire Department through their web site at www.holleyfire.com. From the main page, click on the Contact Us link on the left. I suggest that comments be polite and respectful, and be addressed to Chief Pete Hendrickson.

Update: Some people have questioned whether the AR-15 was actually used in the Connecticut school shooting, or whether that rifle remained in the trunk of the shooter's car. I have been provided a link to a press release from the CT state police confirming that the AR-15 was in fact recovered inside the school. This is, of course, a side issue--the real issue is the cruelty that is about to be inflicted on the squirrels of Holley, NY. But I also know that people will seize on any detail that they can to discredit what they disagree with.

42 comments:

  1. I am not a fan of mass slaughters for animals either, but apparently none of you have had any of these animals get into your house. They cause great damage structurally, not to mention damage to wires. There is a need in certain places to have animal control.
    And hey, many people do eat these animals!

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    1. I have a squirrel who could not be released. After finding at the base of a tree when she was probably just a few days old my wife and I fed her every two hours to start with. She grew up healthy. When she was at the age to release, she came back on two attempts with injuries, the last causing her left hind leg to look abnormal like a broken bone not healing like it should. She has now been in our home for 4 years. Not in a cage, but running with our indoor cat and our dog. She was destructive at first, but now has calmed and is much cleaner than the cat or dog. In the case of wild squirrels you can trap and relocate, but then you might trap a mother and then her young ones will die. Try feeding the squirrels like you do birds. Pet Smart sells wild squirrel food. They are so much fun to watch and would then be less likely to do damage to the exterior of your home and get into your attic. Animal control should not mean animal kill. Yes some people eat squirrel, but the event in Holley did not mention a squirrel cook out.

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    2. Mary Cas, Yonkers, NYJanuary 30, 2013 at 1:29 AM

      Oh, get real! One February, a squirrel chewed a hole in my 5th floor apartment bathroom window - and made a nest in the bathtub. (I had been aaway for a week.) The next day - like in Psycho, the squirrel jumped on my shoulder - and ran into the other room. after taking my cat out, I left the window open - and it jumped out...No BIG deal! So, I had to replace the screen!! Listen, people, if you're so concerned about your "precious houses" maybe you should move! As far, as eating squirrels full of SHOT, well don't complain when you get cancer.

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    3. you got lucky! what if it chewed through wires and your house went up in flames.

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    4. Mice and rats can do that. I don't have a blog account but my name is Margaret Rigsby and you are welcome to talk me through my FaceBook page.

      In Alabama if squirrels get in your attic or somewhere in the house, they have to be trapped and released.

      But my biggest point is that our government and many people in our Country are talking about gun control. I think your event is a great example of what we should not teach children.

      I have nothing against guns for defense or even hunting if you are going to eat your kill. When I was growing up we ate squirrel, rabbits and anything else my Daddy could kill. Also, pinto beans, potatoes, etc.

      Please consider some other worthy cause for your children and adults. I am sure you have a hunting season; ours ends Feb. 28 for squirrels (3 bad a day limit). Haven't you have killed enough squirrels to level the plane?

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    5. Oh, boo hoo, they damage your house. What about all the damage WE do to THEIR homes? We cut down the trees they live in, we poison their food supply and water with chemicals on lawns, etc. And we murder them with our cars every day.

      Humans are no better than any other animal. All of God's creatures have a right to live freely and unharmed by humans. Shame on those of us who do not make every effort to live in harmony with other animals. We are kidding ourselves when we think humans are "superior" to other animals. If we WERE superior we would protect "lesser" beings instead of hurting them for fun or profit or any reason.

      All animals have feelings and suffer, just as we do. Kindness is the most important quality anyone can have.

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    6. OP: You're rationalizing. If a stray dog got onto your property and caused damage, would you think that warranted a dog-killing contest?

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    7. What a disgrace! And Firman...no less! Bad name to ALL firemen throughout the World! Bad Karma awaits for anyone that takes part of this dispicable cruelty to innocent animals.

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  2. To the anonymous commentor: This event is not about preventing damage to people's houses, or about obtaining food. This is about pointless, needless cruelty and killing for no reason other than "entertainment" (and I use that term loosely). If you are having trouble with squirrels damaging your house, there are companies in most communities that will humanely remove the animals and patch up the holes where they were getting in. This is no excuse for a mass slaughter like what is planned in Holley, NY.

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  3. Thank you Dan! I am the woman that originated the petition on Change.org against this bloodbath. Anything else you can do to inform media would be appreciated. Hopefully, we will see an end to squirrel hunting in our lifetimes. Shoot with cameras, not guns!

    God bless all the little squirrels of the Cosmos and all of us who are fighting for their lives!

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  4. Yeah, from one anonymous commenter to another ... These creedants go out into the woods & shoot into trees. Ain't no houses there bucko! I have NEVER heard of a fire department promoting murder! These dinks have called this a bonding day for children & parents! MURDER OF INNOCENT ANIMALS, some injured left to die, nursing mothers ... wiping out litters who will suffer slowly & severely. They even have a prize category for youth this year, & some of the prizes being given are some powerful guns! Promoting serial killers must be an in thing these days, & it's working!

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    1. I so agree with you, this is not in any way to help with a squirrel problem but with a people problem. we have enough problems with our kids these days that this is not the way to teach them about bonding by hunting innocent animals that can in no way defend themselves against humans/

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    2. If more people took the time to hunt with their kids the world would be a much safer place! And as far as squirrels go, they breed like rats, and a one day hunt not only serves the purpose of control, but also promotes a fun event for hunting families.

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  5. Umm..I live in the country, woods all around my house, they do get into houses. I do not have the money to pay someone to come in and capture this animal and fix my house from their damage. They transport the animals from one persons nuisance to another. Why not just prevent it in the first place. I guess maybe I shouldn't kill the mice that get in the house or the rats that get in my barn either?
    How is this any different than killing deer? Over 14,000,000 deer license were given out in 2011 in the US. Many of these people, including juniors, going out into the woods with guns shooting these poor innocent animals who become over populated and starve in the winter. Many of the females killed are already pregnant. Many hunters not only eat these animals but they have them mounted and hang them on their walls. Many will take pictures of the animals and have them posted on the internet, in magazines, and in sporting goods stores. And this is defferent why? So you don't hit them with your car?
    Its all a SPORT no matter what way you look at it!
    Go bark up some other tree!
    O' by the way squirrels don't have their young till the spring, like most animals, so while the female may be pregnant it is unlikely that they have young in a nest in February!

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    1. "O' by the way squirrels don't have their young till the spring, like most animals, so while the female may be pregnant it is unlikely that they have young in a nest in February!"

      And just where do you get your information from?!? As a licensed wildlife rehabilitator I can tell you there ARE babies in the nest RIGHT NOW!

      As to the damage done to your house, just removing the animals in your area and not repairing the damage to your house does no good at all. While you may be removing animals, you are just creating an opening for more to move in and take the place of those you just removed. It is a never ending cycle IF you do not FIX the damage and stop them from being able to get into your house in the first place.

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    2. Excuse me, but almost all tree squirrels in North America have their litters in early February, and often again in early August.

      LOOK IT UP.

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    3. Late March, early April.
      LOOK IT UP.

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    4. ? Only in late march/early april? That's wrong, and you've been told so by those who actually work with squirrels and wildlife. There are baby squirrels in nests right now. Without their mothers, they starve to death.

      But somehow, I don't think this will have any bearing on your position.

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  6. No money to fix your house, but plenty for guns and ammo. Got it.
    And people who have respect for life have banned hunting for sport, as in Costa Rica. If hunting was truly sporty, then both sides would have an equal chance from the start.

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  7. There's a need for human population control. We aren't the only species on the planet, we just act like it. If you remove wildlife habitat to have a home, expect the animals to do what they have to to continue to have shelter themselves.

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  8. to dan h:

    i just spoke to chief hendrickson (he was very nice) and he told me the mayor couldn't do much unless he got a court order to stop the slam. chief recommended passing everything through the council via holleyfire.com contact us. i'm sure it would be helpful if you added that into the body of this blog.

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  9. You live in the woods, the woods that are left, is home to animals. Repair your home and prevent them from entering it. DUH :) Where do they have left to live if everyone is going to go out to shoot them or shoot them near the neighborhoods? They preserve the land and we destroy it as neglectful HUMANS. Have some compassion.

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  10. I just wish I lived closer, I would be there to support the fire department and the hunt. In the mean time I will continue to hunt in my own area and support such causes! Good luck getting it stopped!! :)

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    1. I grew up in a rural area, in a family of hunters. This is not a 'hunt'--it is an animal-killing contest.

      Humans pray to God to show mercy when they themselves show none.

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  11. I like squrrils, and I think this is a very bad thing to do, leave the squrrils alone, find something else constructive to put your energy into doing to help the community or others that need help during tuff times. Its time to stop this annual yearly event and do something different. These animals have feelings too.

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  12. you raise animals for mass slaughter locally but no one cries about that when their chewin on a delicious bacon burger! can you expect anything else from a society who is brought up to think this is just?

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    1. Believe me, people are "crying" about the treatment of other feeling creature that humans treat inhumanely such as pigs in factory farms...but this is a different issue we are addressing here.

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  13. Dan H, thank you for that information. Maybe we can set a precedent for how two opposing sides can work together to get something done. Even though I don't live near Holley, I have great respect for fireman and would support any other type of fundraiser that they would have if they would agree to call off the Slam.

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  14. For those saying they agree with hunting for food, this isn't about getting food, it is about killing innocent animals having babies now just for fun and profit. Squirrels do not offer much in the way of a meal. As seen so often in our culture the ability to take a human life often starts with the disregard of non-human animals lives...

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  15. I was agreeing with him, until I he used the false information about the AR15 being used in CT. While it was in his car, it was NOT used.

    If this fact is wrong, what else is wrong?

    Also, if you are not eating the squirrels, then this is nothing but murder and maltreatment of animals. Where is PETA now??

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    1. I know that there have been conflicting reports about whether or not Adam Lanza did or did not use an AR-15 Bushmaster in the CT shootings. There is no question that this was the rifle used in the Aurora theater shooting, and in other mass shootings. As for Connecticut, here is a prominent conservative website, RedState.com, that asserts that yes, Lanza did use the AR-15: http://www.redstate.com/2012/12/27/setting-the-record-straight-adam-lanza-did-use-the-bushmaster-ar-15/

      Regardless, this is a side issue. The main topic here is the cruelty that is going to be inflicted on the squirrels in Holley, NY.

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    2. Early accounts said that only handguns were used in the massacre, but that was incorrect information.

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  16. Why not send a check to the Holley Fire Dept since this is a fundraiser that allows them to buy equipment and pay for operating expenses? Put your money where your blogging mouth is. How much does this really matter to you? Enough to open your wallet or just enough to open your mouth?

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    1. What makes you think I can afford to fund the equipment and operating expenses of a fire department? Do you really think that if I sent them a check for whatever I can afford, that they would cancel this event? By "opening my mouth" and speaking or writing my opinion on this issue, I am practicing something called "free speech," which you are also doing by telling me to shut up.

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    2. dumb lets save bugs too !!!!

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  17. Address: 49 State St, Brockport, NY 14420
    Phone:(585) 637-1044

    Mayor's office.

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    1. Does anyone know anything about this town... is it rural? backwoods? near a city? How big is Holley... is it a city? town? How many people are there? Are these paid firemen?

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    2. It's a pretty small town. About 1800 residents, I believe. I understand it's pretty rural, although the closest city, Rochester, NY, is only about 25 miles away. The FD is all-volunteer. Its web site is www.holleyfire.com.

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    3. So I guess I wouldnt why to see anything die but if they are using these squirrels and not abusing them... I just dont get the uproar. should we be just as upset with cow, pig and chicken farms or at vegitarians for eating plants.

      Almost everything has a good and bad to it

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    4. You've got the wrong phone number, the wrong Mayor, the wrong village, and even the wrong county. But thanks for playing.

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  18. I think we should PLASTER the three photos of the organizers of this Holley Fire Dept. all over the internet and to animal rights sites and there are many of them; Animal Liberation being the strongest. Here are the names of the two organizers of the Holley Squirrel Slam: Chief Peter D Hendrickson Jr. and President David Knapp. I have two photos of Chief Peter D Hendrickson.
    Also, Mayor John W. Kenney Jr. is behind this event and he is the mayor of Holley. I say we PLASTER his photo and personal info all over every animal activist site. They will have a field day with these three men, Chief Peter D Hendrickson Jr. and President David Knapp and Mayor John W. Kenney Jr. Their home phones will be ringing off the hook and home mail boxes will be bulging with letters from outraged citizens.

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