Squirrel in Westerly is saved from a sticky situation

Squirrel in Westerly is saved from a sticky situation

The Westerly Sun


WESTERLY — When a property owner on High Street tried to seal up damage to his roof-line caused by general wear and tear, he was trying to keep animals, and the elements, at bay. But an unlucky squirrel was in the wrong spot at the wrong time, and it became coated with spray foam insulation.

Exactly what happened next is a little unclear, but the squirrel, a young adult female, was found by a tenant, and is now getting a second chance at life despite getting stuck in the quickly drying foam.

Art Smith, the Weserly animal control officer, and the staff with the Rhode Island Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Saunderstown, the village in North Kingstown came to the rescue.

“When the squirrel arrived, she was covered in the foam and could barely move. It took some time to clean her up and it left her with some minor injuries and missing hair, but it appears she will be able to make a full recovery,” said Arianna Mouradjian, wildlife clinic director for the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island, which oversees the center.

In fact, the squirrel is slated to be released into a sanctuary area within the next few days and is a candidate for full release in the near future. Mouradjian said the animal likely would have been unnecessarily euthanized if not for the efforts of Smith and the Westerly resident who found it.

Smith praised the tenant, who was not identified, after she was able to contain the squirrel in a crate. He said when he arrived at the home on Sept. 22, the day the complaint was made, the squirrel’s tail, legs, and part of its chest were covered in dried foam. The squirrel was left in a near mummified state and would not have been able to move enough to survive, he said.

With the help of the resident who found the squirrel, the two took it to the clinic, where experts took over.

“I was just thrilled we were able to bring it to the clinic, they’ve done a lot to help animals impacted by human elements. Every animal deserves a chance,” Smith said. “I was happy we were able to find a solution. Euthanasia should only ever be the last choice.”

The Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island is a nonprofit organization with a rehabilitation center located on Tower Hill Road. The agency serves all Rhode Island towns and is the only nonprofit wildlife organization of its kind in the state.

According to the agency’s website, the association and center are committed to fostering an understanding and respect for all Rhode Island wildlife, through education and practical assistance. The center strives to provide quality and humane care to injured and orphaned wildlife and serves approximately 5,000 animals every year with the goal of release back into the environment, Mouradjian said.

“When people think of conservation, many focus of the cute animals like pandas or famous animals like lions and tigers, but all animals are important. We try and rescue those we can and focus on promoting coexistence,” Mouradjian said. “If we wait to help animals until they are endangered, it’s too late. Conservation begins in your own backyard.”

For more information on the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island, visit riwildliferehab.org.

jvallee@thewesterlysun.com


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