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My sons witnessed animal abuse. - Page 2

post #21 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
I would not excuse what grandpa did. What your step-dad is doing may actually be illegal deppending on where they live. It would definitely be illegal here in NJ, and carry a hefty fine and possible imprisonment.
It wouldn't, actually. In NJ (as in many states), it's legal for a property owner to kill squirrels that are causing property damage. However, it is NOT legal in NJ to release trapped squirrels wherever you want. (Of course, there aren't any ground squirrels in NJ. Ground squirrels are similar to chipmunks, and are found in the west and midwest.) In some states, ground squirrels are completely unprotected and can be killed by anyone who wants to kill them for any reason.
post #22 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Learning_Mum View Post
Sounds like Grandpa was putting the animal out of it's misery and the other animals would eat them. It's the circle of life.

I don't agree with hunting for sport, but humans have been killing animals for survival for a loooong time.

Your boys don't exactly sound traumatised about it.
Yep. I would talk to them about it and why grandpa did that. If you don't want your children to see that, don't send them to your parents' house.
post #23 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommysarah5 View Post
The squirrel didn't die because a fox ate it. The squirrel died because grandpa thought "hunting" them would be more fun they warding them off.
Oh, come on - that's completely unfair. The OP never said anything that implied grandpa was trapping the squirrels for fun.

Here is some interesting information on one type of ground squirrel that might possibly affect the way some people feel about killing them. According to this source:
Quote:
Only 5-15% of juvenile male Richardson's ground squirrels survive their first year and reach adulthood. As adults, males have about a 25% chance of surviving each succeeding year. Thus, male Richardson's ground squirrels rarely attain the age of 3 years. In contrast, 35-45% of juvenile females survive to adulthood, and adult females have a 50% chance of surviving each subsequent year. Thus, female Richardson's ground squirrels often live 3 or 4 years, with a few surviving as long as 5 or 6 years.
So sparing a ground squirrel's life doesn't guarantee it will live a lot longer. Chances are, it won't live all that much longer whether or not it gets caught in a trap, especially if it's a male. And if you read further on that page, you'll see that one reason females live longer than males is that they tend to stay in one familiar area their whole lives. So a female that was trapped and released outside of its familiar area presumably would not have a very good chance of survival. Killing it quickly is probably no less humane than releasing it and letting something else kill it.

Of course, grandpa could try other strategies like repellants, but I would be surprised if that ended up being very effective.
post #24 of 126
I don't think grandpa should have let them watch or check traps.

I completely understand why grandpa does this. It isn't abuse. Breaking a squirls neck is not as easy as a birds neck. It is much better than him laying out posions.

Trapping and releasing an animal in another area isn't always ethical. Many areas their is animal territories. Also a new area the animal might not have enough food to survive.
post #25 of 126
I think you should try to tell them how much your kids adore him, how much you value him being in the boys lives, and then about how they felt about seeing this and asking him to consider killing the animal before or after the boys come over so his relationship with them isn't hurt any more than it has been by this incident. I don't think you should address it as an issue for him to stop or even address how hideous it is to do this, just as something the boys aren't ready to handle right now. If you don't think he will be receptive to this then I think you should address this to your mom instead but don't push for it to stop, just for more sensitivity around the boys.
post #26 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
It wouldn't, actually. In NJ (as in many states), it's legal for a property owner to kill squirrels that are causing property damage. However, it is NOT legal in NJ to release trapped squirrels wherever you want. (Of course, there aren't any ground squirrels in NJ. Ground squirrels are similar to chipmunks, and are found in the west and midwest.) In some states, ground squirrels are completely unprotected and can be killed by anyone who wants to kill them for any reason.
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/200...es_pest_c.html
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/200...le_in_sea.html
http://www.nytimes.com/1994/08/25/op...oo-057940.html
post #27 of 126
Have you ever just walked up to a squirrel? Most likely... never and if one did..something is wrong with it: plauge or injured.
post #28 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
Oh, come on - that's completely unfair. The OP never said anything that implied grandpa was trapping the squirrels for fun.=
I don't think its unfair. As I said it's because grandpa thinks hunting is more fun than warding them off. Thats just my point. He COULD have warded them off. If he didn't like hunting, and if he shared the OP's feelings on the matter, he would have taken another approach. But he didn't, and I don't think its unreasonable of me to say its probably because he likes hunting and doesn't see anything wrong with hurting animals - whether it be for sport/recreation or for purpose. If for purpose, it could have been handled differently. He sometimes kills animals for recreational purposes, and so thought nothing of it in that situation. I am not against hunting for food. He wasn't eating these squirrels though. Nor do I agree this is witnessing the food chain in action. And all in all, the guy, from what I gather from the OP, thinks the boys should be able to hunt, and knows the OP doesn't want them too, and in knowing that trapped and killed an animal in their presence. It was out of line, and it was very much IMO him wanting those kids to experience "hunting", which is something he enjoys. The great thing about this being my opinion, is that you don't have to agree with me.
post #29 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post


So sparing a ground squirrel's life doesn't guarantee it will live a lot longer.
So how do you feel about people who have cancer but are still enjoying the days they have left? should we not "spare" their life, since there is no guarantee they will live much longer anyway? Sorry, but the reasoning you outline here is not very convincing.
post #30 of 126
Lot's of school in Princeton College Campus... never gave anyone a bit of trouble... my friend used to have nightmares about evil squirrels though lol but I have never had a problem with them myself. We used to do our homework on campus there and they never bothered us or disturbed anything. There were a ton of them too.
post #31 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommysarah5 View Post
He COULD have warded them off. If he didn't like hunting, and if he shared the OP's feelings on the matter, he would have taken another approach.
How do you know he could have warded them off? How do you know he didn't try that first? Just because you've heard of methods for repelling squirrels, you shouldn't assume that those methods are always guaranteed to work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommysarah5 View Post
So how do you feel about people who have cancer but are still enjoying the days they have left? should we not "spare" their life, since there is no guarantee they will live much longer anyway? Sorry, but the reasoning you outline here is not very convincing.
Completely different situation. People are aware they can die, and are generally unhappy about the prospect, and their quality of life is lowered if they feel they live in a society where their lives are not valued. If you think any of that is true for ground squirrels, you've been reading too many children's books where animals wear clothes and talk.
post #32 of 126
Those links do indicate that NJ residents risk being charged with violations of animal cruelty laws for things that would probably go unremarked in more rural parts of the country. But they aren't directly applicable to the OP's situation - except maybe the last one, about the man who was charged for beating a rat to death with a stick. But I looked up more information about that case and found that the charges were later dismissed. The first link was about someone who was basically charged for NOT killing a squirrel. A trap was left unchecked for too long, and the squirrel in it died. I doubt there would have been any legal repercussions if the trapper had killed the squirrel soon after it was caught. The second link was about someone killing a seagull for basically no reason. It wasn't a property damage situation - and gulls, unlike most ground squirrels, are federally protected.
post #33 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommysarah5 View Post
Lot's of school in Princeton College Campus... never gave anyone a bit of trouble... my friend used to have nightmares about evil squirrels though lol but I have never had a problem with them myself. We used to do our homework on campus there and they never bothered us or disturbed anything. There were a ton of them too.
Are you sure those were ground squirrels? I thought ground squirrels were things like marmots or prairie dogs.

Of course, normal squirrels (should I call them tree squirrels?) can be ginormous pests, too. My grandfather traps them live at his house in town and drives them out to his farm, where he releases them on his own forest land. If that weren't an option, I'm sure he'd kill them. There are too many of them... and they terrorize my grandmom's birds, or something.

Almost everyone in my family hunts- deer, quail, dove, sometimes boar or turkey. They do keep the meat, but that isn't why they do it. Hunting these animals helps keep the populations down... and while I don't personally enjoy it, I don't think reducing a population of pest animals amounts to abuse. Mostly, I think the men in my family enjoy the tradition of all getting up at the crack of dawn, eating hot food together, being out in the woods all day...

op, I think by explaining to your kids that killing an animal isn't fun, but grandpa found that he had to put that squirrel out of his misery you're taking the right approach.

ETA: I'm assuming in the quoted post that you meant to type "squirrels" where you typed "school."
post #34 of 126
I know that animals feel pain too, including the pain of their heads being bashed in with sticks. It has nothing to do with children's fairy tales, it has everything to do with their biological make up.

If their death served a purpose in the circle of life I don't have a problem with that, but if it's due to vanity or amusement then yes I do see something wrong with it.

Yes, maybe he did try to ward them off in other ways. I wonder why then, he wanted to show the children how the trap works and have the children watch him kill the animal, and why he expressed his distaste towards the idea they would not be taught to hunt as a sport? This does not strike me as the personality of someone who would consider other options first. again just my opinion, I respect you have yours, I just don't happen to share yours same as you don't share mine.

If there is food in his yard and he is choosing to trap them instead of get rid of the food the squirrels are after then I think that's wrong. And it's not like he is going to get rid of the squirrels. They will keep coming back if he doesn't get rid of what they are coming back for.

But hey, why go through that trouble when you can catch them and bash their heads in, right?

And in the end, maybe whether or not it was animal abuse may be a matter of opinion - but the real issue is he did it in front of her children knowing how she feels about it. You can think he had to bash the squirrels head in all you want, but he didn't need to do it in front of the kids. Great that they weren't traumatized by it, maybe. Or maybe its something that should concern people, debatable I agree... but he could have respected her feelings on the issue by doing it out of their presence. The fact that they seemingly were not bothered by it may in fact be an indicator that it did effect them negatively but there is no need to go into depth with that either.

I think perhaps, if not animal abuse, it was disrespectful and abusing the trust of the children's mother. To feel the need to have a child present while you kill an animal that you don't plan to eat and are not defending yourself from, for the mere reason that YOU (who are not the parent) feel the child should witness the death of an animal.. we'll I think that speaks for itself.
post #35 of 126
So, because we have veggie gardens and rabbits/groundhogs/coons/etc are attracted to them, we should just deal with them eating everything that we grow?? Or spend hundreds of dollars in failed attempts to 'ward' them off with various smelly things??? How the heck is that practicle??

As for whether or not something is technically 'animal abuse' meh. Apparently its actually illegal to shoot your own dogs in OH (some idiot fireman shot his dogs in Columbus a few weeks ago and is getting charged with animal abuse), but I know *LOTS* of people who have done it - including my dad - when a dog got old/sick (or they just plum couldn't afford to keep it anymore) rather than going in and spending $50+ to have it 'put to sleep'. Of course, maybe you think it'd be more "humane" to go dump said dog/cat out in the middle of nowhere so it can be somebody else's problem - stray dogs commonly kill livestock, not to mention all the songbird populations being decimated by 'house cats' who got released by owners who couldn't take care of them anymore. Of course, us folks in the country should just learn to deal with having our gardens/yards/bird feeders/livestock killed by stray dogs, cats & wild animals. Cause' you know, killing the animals that are hurting your property is "animal abuse"

Yeah, maybe her FIL shouldn't have taken her kids with him. Maybe that was a bad judgment call on his part. But what he did is/was hardly 'wrong' to my mind, and many/most other folks who live outside of the city limits. Some animals are simply pests, and yeah, another coon/oppossum/squirrel/rabbit will probably move in if you kill this one eventually, but for a while at least you'll be able to sleep peacefully. And maybe the new one won't take livestock or dig up your flower beds & garden.
post #36 of 126
Are you vegetarians?? Do they know where meat comes from? I'm not seeing the big deal here, really. Next time you go there, just tell your step-dad you would prefer your kids not be exposed to that kind of thing. They can stay at the house while he checks traps.

Were your kids bothered by it or just kind of matter of fact about it? Honestly, at the ages they are, I would probably rather my kids didn't see something like that too, but I wouldn't worry they'd be scarred for life or anything.
post #37 of 126
Quote:
Yes, maybe he did try to ward them off in other ways. I wonder why then, he wanted to show the children how the trap works and have the children watch him kill the animal, and why he expressed his distaste towards the idea they would not be taught to hunt as a sport? This does not strike me as the personality of someone who would consider other options first. again just my opinion, I respect you have yours, I just don't happen to share yours same as you don't share mine.

If there is food in his yard and he is choosing to trap them instead of get rid of the food the squirrels are after then I think that's wrong. And it's not like he is going to get rid of the squirrels. They will keep coming back if he doesn't get rid of what they are coming back for.

But hey, why go through that trouble when you can catch them and bash their heads in, right?
Yikes. Not to be rude, but you sound extremely uninformed on hunting. Say the guy walked up on a squirrel that was sick or injured. Should he leave it and take his grandchildren somewhere or should he put it out of its misery before it could wander away and die a slow and painful death? I'm totally guessing here, but I'd say he used a stick because it was there and this was something he wanted taken care of quickly.

We have lots of squirrels at our house. We also have tons of fruit trees they like to snack on. I don't mind the squirrels in the trees, but if they were in my garden, I would have a problem. I'm certainly not going to take food away from my family because of a squirrel.
post #38 of 126
the squirrel was in a trap in the backyard. Which he knowingly went to check with the kids. then chose not to say "hey, i'll meet you kids back inside" then he beat th squirrels head in with a stick. Why he couldn't manage to kill the squirrel on the first whack (maybe he didn't intend to kill it with the first whack?) is beyond me. What made multiple whacks to the head necessary - that is something I don't know. But the rest seems pretty clear as far as doing it in front of the kids.

I am fine with animals being killed in a humane way in attempt to protect self or provide a source of food. As far as having a garden, well I've had them my whole life and have never needed to kill any animals to keep them out of it. There ARE other options, should a person choose to use them.

As for the options I listen, not all are options in all areas, but what IS an option in all areas is for people who believe in hunting not to push it on the children of families who don't believe in hunting by having the children watch an animal being killed.

As for shooting a dog, well, from what I understand that is more humane then putting them to sleep, if you do it the right way. I heard putting a dog to sleep only looks peaceful, but it a much longer lasting pain for the animal. I have never been in that situation though, but I would look to confirm that before making a choice like that. I don't think its something I would take lightly.

Also I dated a guy whose dad was a hunter. I actually have no problem personally with hunting. The guys dad used ALL of the kill though. He would make deer jerkey, use the skin for stuff, the animals insides, if he had too much meat he would give some to friends. I can hardly compare that to the situation described. now, I will say, I wasn't fond of walking past a deer bleeding out into a bucket in their shed, but I ate deer meat that night (I think it was the same night... it's been nearly 10 years now though), I thought it was good, I understood the population issues when it came to deers, etc. I just wouldn't kill an animal for the sake of it (but if thats what other people want to do, I leave my opinion of that out - it still wouldn't be okay to do in front of children from a family who do not want them to see that). If this is an ongoing problem then obviously the traps are not working, and in any event, what the guy did was out of line when it comes to respecting the wishes of the children's mother. Just like I would not care if someone chose to put drugs into their own body, I would have a huge problem if they did it in front of my kids.

It's sad when things turn into people looking for an excuse to kill. Again, I see nothing wrong with hunting, and I understand why someone wouldn't want animals eating the food in their garden - but hitting a squirrel repeatedly in the head until death I personally do not think is okay. And more so, most importantly in the context of this thread, it's not okay what that the guy did this in front of those children knowing how their mother felt about it.
post #39 of 126
Life in the country is different than life in the city. Period. It isn't all rainbows and butterflies. Grandpa did nothing wrong, it was by no definition abuse, and frankly, the boys will not be scarred from it.

If the boys ever want to buy some acres and live in a rural setting, they're going to have to do the same thing. What grandpa did is a drop in the hat compared to some of the things my husband and his six brothers and sisters had to do to survive on their hundred acres, and none of them are damaged from living that life. If anything, they're enriched.
post #40 of 126
Not everyone that grows up in the country and farms deals with pests in the same way. I know many people that try to live in (their version of harmony) with their surroundings. There are ways to ward off pests without killing them but I do understand some people would choose lethal ways. I also don't think you are going to change your step-dad's mind about how he does things.

You already have some excellent advice about how to talk with your boys about what they saw and maybe how to avoid seeing it in the future if they would like that.

Sorry you had to deal with that. And also, ethics vary from person to person. If done responsibly, live trapping and relocation is very ethical to me and much more humane. Local animal control and Departments of Fish and Wildlife can help people with this and many encourage it. Again, I do understand others points of view on the matter. However, ethics and morals are very debatable and are very personal and should be argued respectably.

To the OP, good luck with this issue, I'm sure it will turn out fine!
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