Ban Cruel Rodent Control
While looking for information on creatures such as ground squirrels, I was appalled to see so many pages with hints on how to control them cruelly. Although they are considered as pests in some areas, it is no reason to control them the way some people do. Such cruelty involves poisoning, fumigation, drowning, trapping, and shooting. Obviously, the people who commit such cruelty have no idea that squirrels and other rodents have complex nervous systems, like us. Rodents are mammals, not insects!
Poisoning with substances such as strychnine should be banned because of the slow way it kills. Respiratory functions of the animals shut down slowly while they are gasping for breath.
Blatantly, fumigation and drowning are extremely cruel! When animals are trapped in closed in places (sometimes Havahart traps, which are meant solely for capture and release) filled with water or toxic gases, they frantically gasp for air. Anyone who even thinks of committing such a horrible thing to any creature must seek psychological counseling.
Trapping is cruel if it involves steel traps, or other traps that hold the animal by a leg or the tail. It is surprising to me that these traps have not yet become illegal. Humane traps are Havahart traps and others that do not hurt the animal. Again, these should be used only for capture and release.
Control in any form is cruel if it is being done at certain times of the year. Most species of rodent have specific breeding seasons, and when controlled at those seasons, young starve to death when they no longer have a mother. Although the person doing the killing does not know that there are any young animals suffering, it is still a cruel thing to do.
If you have any rodent problems, especially with those in the squirrel family, the correct approach would be to capture and release. But please consider the status of the individual you are releasing. If the creature is a lactating female, leave her until she does not appear to be busy with a litter of young, otherwise her young would be abandoned.
Sometimes squirrels can be captured young in areas where they are a problem. They are usually sold as pets under these special circumstances. Species of squirrel kept as pets in the United States include the gray squirrel, southern flying squirrel, Richardson ground squirrel, Columbian ground squirrel, 13-lined ground squirrel, black-tailed prairie dog, woodchuck, eastern chipmunk, least chipmunk, and others.
Etc-etc California Ground Squirrel Page
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Med Pest Inc. (for those seeking humane rodent control)