Newcastle family rescues squirrel

Law prevents wild animals to be kept
By: Bruce Warren Journal Staff Writer
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Something rustling in the leaves in one Newcastle resident’s yard produced an interesting surprise recently for James Todd and his family. Todd, an Auburn Journal employee, and Tammy Brandon, his mother-in-law, were relaxing one evening on the front porch when they heard something on the front yard. “I heard it rustling in the leaves, while I was sitting on the porch,” Todd said. When he went to investigate, he discovered a baby squirrel. “It was getting eaten by ants,” Todd said. “They were the regular household black ants, the ones that eat your cereal if you’re not careful.” Todd proceeded to rescue the squirrel from the ants. He took it inside to place it in a cardboard box with a towel in it to help keep the squirrel warm. His 7-year-old daughter Sylvia became excited over the creature. “Wow, are we keeping it?” Sylvia asked her mother Christina Todd. Talulah, Sylvia’s 3 year-old sister, had her say in the matter, too. “It’s a squirrel. It’s a wild animal,” Talulah said. Christina Todd informed her daughters that it’s illegal to keep wildlife as a pet and Dana Fasolette, president of Gold Country Wildlife Rescue of Auburn, confirmed the law. “It is illegal for anyone to raise wild animals in their home,” Fasolette said. Volunteers at Gold Country Wildlife must be licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game, Fasolette said. “We are all required to have training depending on the species,” Fosolette said. “We discourage people from feeding anything because they could feed them the wrong thing. We just encourage them to keep them warm, dark and quiet.” Christina Todd, with two daughters of her own, was less than ecstatic about being woken up every three hours to feed a baby squirrel. However, when the squirrel made its appearance in her yard the nearest Wildlife Care Association office was closed. She then went on the Internet and found care instructions that recommended keeping the squirrel warm and then hydrated with a recipe of water, sugar and salt. When Christina Todd contacted the Wildlife Care Association on Patrol Road in McClellan the next day, she was told to make an effort to have the squirrel’s mother return for her baby by placing it back in the yard in a cardboard box. “We tried for a whole day and there were no squirrels anywhere,” Christina Todd said. “We don’t know where it came from.” The happy ending came when Christina Todd was able to take the baby squirrel to the Wildlife Care Assoociation the next day, and they found a trained individual to care for the squirrel.