Critters: Part One

We know that those of a “country state of mind” sometimes hold onto the “old ways” of blasting away forest creatures like squirrels, chipmunks and even pesky blue jays with a BB Gun or worse. If some critter annoys you, just shoot and kill it goes the thinking. Gets a good laugh among a certain population.

However, blasting away at squirrels with a BB Gun or otherwise in the Village of Woodstock is taken a bit more seriously. Aside from leaving the helpless critter dying some horribly public death on a street corner, there is also the public safety issue of stray BB’s and/or bullets. Blasting away in the Village is illegal. At the least it will get you a $75 fine, not to mention the disapproval of neighbors who don’t share the “country state of mind.”

Woodstock Police Chief Robbie Blish says his department is not exactly sure what all happened near the intersection of Ford and Pleasant Street the other day except a squirrel was shot and found dying in a neighbor’s yard. According to Blish, a responding WPD Patrolman knocked on the door of an adjacent-to-the-scene residence owned by a State of Vermont parole officer to investigate the incident but the resident was either not at home or not answering.

Blish says no one has been cited for discharging a firearm in the Village because any reports from those in the area provide only circumstantial evidence. Those reports were that a man was sitting on the porch of the home owned by the parole officer and that then there was the sound of a gunshot — a pop — which Blish describes as like a BB Gun. However, according to Blish, those reporting the incident did not actually witness any shooting but came out after the “pop” to find a dying squirrel  and the absence of their neighbor from the porch.

There has been a previous difficult relationship between neighbors in the area and Blish says it is hard to determine what really happened since they have not “made contact” with the owner of the home since Blish believes the house is for sale and the owner may be living elsewhere.

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by L Mitchell on June 27, 2012 at 21:41

    the squirrel was shot in my yard from the shooters yard. The squirrel staggered across my yard all torn up and bleeding and died on my lawn, not in the road. The shooter was home when the police arrived and knocked on his door but he locked up and would not let them in. Having someone shoot into my yard is upsetting enough but to shoot an animal in my yard from theirs? I certainly hope charges are pressed.

    WEB Note: We know the suspect’s name and that name has been acknowledged as a suspect by WPD. However, it sounded to WEB as if WPD didn’t see any grounds for pursuing the case. Since the suspect hasn’t even been contacted and no citations have been issued, we continue to withhold the person’s name despite this egregious assault on your property.

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  2. Posted by M.McDermott on June 28, 2012 at 11:16

    The alleged shooter’s behavior was out of control in shooting any gun within the village; and, in addition, he or she is guilty of animal cruelty. The police are there to protect citizens. When they knock on your door, open it. If you don’ open the door, that
    action alone speakes volumes.

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    • Posted by Bob Pear on July 1, 2012 at 20:21

      §5103. Discharging firearms
      (a) No person shall discharge any firearm within the Village except pursuant to and in
      accordance with a permit as provided in subsection [(d)] of this section.
      (b) No person shall discharge any air rifle or BB-gun within the Village except on property owned or leased by such person or on property with the permission of the owner or lessee thereof and with due regard for the safety of others.
      (c) No person shall discharge any arrow or arrow device within the Village except on property owned or leased by such person or on property with the permission of the owner or lessee thereof and with due regard for the safety of others.
      (d) The Chief of Police shall have the authority to issue permits to any person within the Village to shoot wildlife if damage is being done to property and such destruction of the animal is otherwise allowed by law.

      Other laws in our village are being disregarded, why follow this one? And why enforce this law when others aren’t being enforced- doesn’t that make it equal? Maybe section (d) applies- the critter chewed a flower or telephone wire or something and a permit was issued for its destruction.

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      • Posted by M.McDermott on July 3, 2012 at 14:59

        Thanks to Bob Pear, for citing the legal statute regarding this law. I had already believed that action would be against the law in any town for the obvious reason.

        Since we (THINK -WEB) know the identity of the “shooter,” and that said shooter (MAY BE-WEB) is a Vermont state employee, it makes this scenario even more compelling!

        I ask what legal action will be taken; or, if not, for what reason will the law not
        be enforced?

        WEB Response: Please understand that we have no charges and we do not know “officially” know who shot and killed in the squirrel in a neighbor’s yard even though much evidence points to someone in particular.

        If you read the original post, we reference Chief Blish saying there were no apparent witnesses to the shooting and that any allegations involve circumstantial evidence.

        Wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air for the person who did shoot the squirrel in the yard to step forward honestly and simply admit: “I did it and I’m sorry!”

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        • Posted by L Mitchell on July 5, 2012 at 21:44

          It has come to my attention tonight that the shooter was NOT on his property but on the lawn that belongs to the owner of the other half of my house and after shooting the squirrel ran as fast as he could back to his porch and stayed there gun in hand until the police officer arrived when he beat a hasty retreat into his house , turned out the lights and locked the doors! This is from a witness who has come forward and said he saw the entire event.
          So lets see …as I see it, 3 laws were broken…shooting a firearm in the Village…not being on your own property…shooting into someone elses property…and, oh yes….squirrel season is Sept 1 to Dec 1…so thats 4 strikes!
          Since no charges have been brought I have to assume that one can break the law and get away with it as long as you lock your doors and hide from the police! I know that in the big scheme of things, this is not high on the Police Chiefs list of priorities…..but the principle should be!!! That is a big deal to me.
          Is this how it would be handled for ANYONE who did this? I wonder….

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  3. Posted by M.McDermott on July 10, 2012 at 11:35

    So, now we do have a witness who came forth. The witness saw the shooter in action and described where he was located and what actions he took after the shooting. What can we expect to occur next?

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