Still, her familiarity with all manner of injured wildlife didn’t numb her to a disturbing scene this past weekend in Sandusky: a squirrel with an arrow piercing its sides.
“It’s hard to believe people would do these kinds of things,” Rutger said.
Rutger’s Back to the Wild wildlife rehabilitation center in Castalia received a call Sunday from a Sandusky couple who found the injured squirrel near their Jeanette Court property. Being the wildlife specialist she is, Rutger saw a struggling creature — but also a silver lining.
“The squirrel is alive,” she said Monday. “(The arrow) missed its vital organs. But you don’t know about internal bleeding”
The arrow was sticking out about a foot on each side of the animal.
While the prospect for the squirrel’s longterm survival remains to be seen, one thing is certain: The person who shot it, if identified, will face some type of punishment.
“It’s 100 percent illegal,” Rutger said.
An Ohio Department of Natural Resources wildlife officer is now investigating the case. The marksman responsible could face a variety of charges.
“Sometimes it’s a fine, sometimes it’s jail time,” Rutger said. “It depends on the severity”
Rutger said nearby residents suspect they know who shot the squirrel.
In the bigger picture, she’s hoping the incident raises awareness about animal cruelty. Local counties have seen a multitude of such cases, and it’s time for such incidents to stop, Rutger said.
“We hope through education we can teach these kids to respect nature and loving creatures,” she said. “We want kids to respect the natural world and learn the impact humans have on the environment”
Last month, a group of teenage boys allegedly broke Canada goose eggs at AMVETS park in Sandusky. The teens are accused of smashing about 10 eggs containing partially developed birds. Wildlife officials are also investigating that incident.