On the Prowl

Renegade Squirrel Terrorizing Vermont

Over the last few weeks, a hairy animal has been stalking East Street in Bennington, Vt., attacking people at will. No, it’s not a raccoon, but rather a renegade gray squirrel. “All of a sudden I felt something on my back and shoulders, scratching," said Kevin McDonald, who was attacked by the squirrel while shoveling snow. The squirrel has attacked three people so far on East Street, including biting a woman on the back of the neck. The victims are all undergoing treatment for rabies, although its highly unlikely that they’re infected since there has never been a documented case of a squirrel passing rabies to a human, according to Vermont veterinarian Robert Johnson. One theory Johnson has for the attacks is that the animal was raised by humans and then either released or accidentally escaped into the wild. “They've lost their fear of people and they go ballistic [when they encounter a person] because it's not their human,” said Johnson, adding, “A tame squirrel is a loose-cannon sometimes."