"Squirrel Slam"causing concerns

Posted at: 01/30/2013 5:50 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

The Holley Fire Department calls it the “Squirrel Slam”. Some of its rules has many people slamming the event. Some say the event sponsored by the Holley Fire Department is cruel. Several squirrels will be shot and killed on February 16 and it's not just adults participating. Children as young as 12-years-old are allowed to participate, but should they be shooting guns at that age?

It was the Humane Society at Lollypop Farm's statement on Facebook that first caught the attention of News10NBC. They wrote a letter to the Holley Fire Department saying while they respect the right for people to hunt, it is the glorifying of killing squirrels that really upsets them. And they aren't the only ones.

It's pretty easy to tell that Lauren Barrows Chiaramonte loves squirrel. So you can imagine how she felt when she opened a letter about killing squirrels earlier this week.

Barrows Chiaramonte said, “Total outrage. I cried. My first reaction I had to calm myself down.”

The letter was from the New York Squirrel Lovers Club. She's been a member for more than ten years. The letter is about the Village of Holley's 7th annual Squirrel Slam, where dozen of people come to shoot squirrels, weigh them in and collect a prize. But it's not just the killing of squirrels that concerns her, she says it bothers her that young children seem to be encouraged to kill for sport.

Barrows Chiaramonte said, “It bothers me that with all the violence with Newtown, with what happened with the wonderful firefighters in West Webster that were killed, that they would encourage something like that especially in light of current events.”

The rules for the squirrel slam says children as young as 12-years-old are allowed to participate. News10NBC wanted to know how Holley residents felt about the age requirements.

Gina Hughes said, “I understand if they want to educate kids on gun control but I think you should be a little bit older before you start shooting a gun.”

Cara Passarell said, “If there was adult supervision there and if they have an adult showing them the proper way of handling a gun, shooting a gun.”

Lee Burch said, “I wouldn't let my son do it right now and he's only 13. I think 14 and older is a good limit. Anything under 14 I don't think they should be shooting a gun.”

The Holley Fire Department did not want to go on camera but they released this statement,

“Our upcoming fundraiser has been in place for multiple years. We are diligent in making sure that all laws set by the state of New York are adhered to. His event has shown to be successful for many years without a negative outcome to our community. Members of the community use the game gathered for food and for their pelts. The department has decided to proceed with our scheduled derby and raffle February 16. The fire company also hopes that citizens respect the freedoms and rights of those who choose to participate and support this event.”

News10NBC contacted the Environmental Conservation Police for New York State. They say the youngest age eligible for hunting is 12.. They say there is a lot involved in the process, like there must be supervision and they must have certain credentials. News10NBC asked the Holly Fire Chief Pete Hendrickson if they would be checking for credentials on February 16. He said- all New York State Hunting and Licensing Rules will be followed.

The Humane Society at Lollypop Farm

Holley Fire Department

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