Target: Diane Chalfant, Superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park
Goal: Find, arrest, and charge the two men responsible for a hideous act of cruelty against an innocent squirrel
In a viral video originally posted on YouTube, two men, clad in nothing but cowboy hats and shorts, are seen luring a squirrel with bread crumbs close to the edge of the Grand Canyon. Once the squirrel nears the edge, one of the men kicks the animal off the cliff. The YouTube video, which has since been removed from the website, was brought to the park’s attention and park officials have received thousands of messages from people who urged them to hold both culprits accountable. Although officials have begun investigating the incident, they say that there is only a slim chance of finding the two men responsible for the crime. Park spokeswoman Kirby-Lynn Shedowski stated, “Right now they [park officials] are working on it. They realize that it’s been seen by a lot of people and that there’s some sensitivity to treatment of wildlife.”
If the men are found, they could face a charge of disturbing or harassing wildlife, which is a federal petty offense that entails a $5,000 fine and/or a maximum of six months in jail. Grand Canyon Chief Ranger Bill said rangers will most likely not pursue charges of animal cruelty under state statute due to the fact that they would need to actually retrieve the squirrel and prove it had been injured or dead even though it is clearly obvious that any creature will die from the fall. The average depth of the Grand Canyon is about one mile.
Please sign this petition to help arrest the two men responsible for this disturbing act of animal cruelty, and ensure they receive the punishment they deserve.
Dear Grand Canyon officials,
The two men who kicked a squirrel off the edge of the Grand Canyon and recorded the entire incident on video should be arrested for charges of animal cruelty. It is surprising to me that they have actually gotten away with their crime despite the existence of a video that provides clear evidence. Although many people believe the video is a hoax, this kind of incident is not uncommon. There are people who torment animals for entertainment and keep a recording of it as a sick souvenir.
Squirrels around the area have become accustomed to visitors and oftentimes depend on them for food. These men manipulated an innocent squirrel’s trust in humans; you must discourage visitors from coming close to any animal in the future or else other animals may endure the same fate.
I urge you to work hard to protect the park’s wildlife and prevent this from happening again in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kwagunt Butte, Malgosa Crest, Nankoweap Mesa via Flickr