City to kill aggressive squirrels after attacks |

City to kill aggressive squirrels after attacks

Rick E. Martin / San Jose Mercury News / A sign warning park visitors about recent problems with squirrels is seen Tuesday at Cuesta Park in Mountain View.

MOUNTAIN VIEW (AP) – The city plans to start trapping and killing aggressive tree squirrels following a spate of attacks on people, including a young boy who was scratched and bitten last week.

Over the next three weeks, the city will set tube-like traps in the trees of Cuesta Park and euthanize captured squirrels “in a humane way,” said David Muela, Mountain View’s community services director.

But wildlife advocates oppose the unusual measure and say it won’t solve the problem.

“The squirrels will be back,” South Bay wildlife rehabilitator Norma Campbell said. “For every one you take out, two more will come in. It could be a never-ending project that isn’t going to accomplish anything.”

In recent months, the city has received reports that Cuesta Park squirrels had scratched several visitors and bitten at least three.

Officials say the animals have been jumping inside baby strollers, opening food bags and even scratching people as they seek a handout. They say the increasingly brazen behavior stems from years of being fed by park visitors.

Last week’s attack on 4-year-old Andrew Packard prompted officials to take action. The preschooler has received rabies shots and taken powerful antibiotics after the squirrel repeatedly bit and scratched him as he ran through the park screaming.

Earlier this week, signs were posted in Cuesta Park warning visitors to beware of the creatures. Officials are enforcing regulations against feeding wildlife and increasing park patrols.

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