The Squirrels of Washington Square Park have Many Fans But Now also a Killer in their Midst

WSP Squirrel on the Old Benches

Keeping on a protect wildlife theme, the squirrels at Washington Square Park have many fans but not all people are fans. Tragically, there is a woman who is allowing her dog to attack and, in many instances, kill the WSP squirrels. This has been going on for at least a month, if not longer.

As first reported on The New York Squirrel Blog:

We just heard that there is a woman who allows her dog (a German Shepherd mix) to hunt and kill squirrels in Washington Square Park on the NE side. Quite a few squirrels; five that our informants know of in the past few weeks. The dog enjoys killing and they think she does too.

They just discovered this a few days ago and sent a complaint to the current Park Manager. Then yesterday as they were walking through the park, they came upon people gathered around a dying young squirrel. Some of the chess players there saw the dog attack. The woman and dog had just left the park.

Another squirrel was located at the base of the Hangman’s Tree that night. He has two broken legs, which have been set by a vet. With luck, he’ll have use of at least three, but is going to have a hard recovery. It’s not known if he was chased by the same dog, but it’s likely.

There are people watching out for her now, and working on getting more information. She appears in the park around 8 am, and then around 5 pm. Yesterday she varied her routine. She’s young, medium height, slim, w/long dark shiny hair. She wears sunglasses.

Her age has since been reported as close to forty.

According to WSP activist and squirrel nurturer Suzan Goren, the last known dog-squirrel encounter ending in the squirrel being mauled and killed occurred last Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. It is said that this woman allows this on purpose, letting her dog escape out of the dog run, feigning innocence about it, alternating with outrage if questioned.

This story was exposed further in Saturday’s New York Daily News.

If you witness this, The New York Squirrel blog asks people to “call the Parks Office at 212.387.7676 if she’s seen. They want her apprehended for animal abuse.”

It’s sad all the way around – for this woman, the dog, and obviously the squirrels. I was in Madison Square Park recently and was a bit appalled at the number of people who allow their dogs to chase squirrels and laugh about it. It becomes a form of the dog’s play activity and also seems to amuse the owner-guardians of the dog but I’m sure they can find other activities that do both. It’s likely that the Madison Square squirrels do not have as active a squirrel protectors’ community as the ones living in Washington Square Park.

Photo: Cathryn