Lieberman, Ryan & Forrest, L.L.C.
Somerset County
Hunterdon County

Wildlife charges for man keeping alleged "attack squirrel"

When people in New Jersey think of pets that may be prone to attack humans, their minds probably turn first to dogs. However, individuals may keep any number of animals with the capacity to bite. An Alabama man kept a squirrel, which he claimed to have raised from a baby, in a cage in his apartment. He now faces charges from state authorities for violating a law prohibiting the possession of wild rodents. 

Last week, law enforcement gained a search warrant for the man's apartment in relation to a separate, unrelated charge. Before exercising the warrant, authorities received a tip-off that the occupant kept an aggressive squirrel in a cage within the apartment. According to the tipster's account, in order to maintain the so-called "attack squirrel's" aggression, the man fed it methamphetamine. 

Authorities found the squirrel in its cage during their search of the apartment. They seized the squirrel and released it into some nearby trees. They did not perform any testing to confirm whether the squirrel had received meth. It would have been necessary to euthanize the squirrel in order to accomplish this. An official stated that the rodent species is aggressive by nature, and the caged squirrel's behavior was not uncharacteristic. 

It is in part because of squirrels' aggressive nature and capacity to carry disease that it is illegal to keep them as pets. Nevertheless, despite its reputation as an "attack" animal, it is unclear whether this particular animal had ever actually bitten anyone. 

A bite from any animal, whether wild, domestic or feral, can result in serious injury or illness. People who have experienced an animal attack may find it helpful to contact an attorney.

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