LEWISTON — Squirrels in Kennedy Park will not be getting any nuts from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals this year.

On Wednesday, PETA said initially it seemed the city was going to work with them, but “in the end the city didn’t allow it to happen,” spokesman David Perle said.

For two years, squirrels have chewed lights on the Kennedy Park Christmas tree to the point that in 2014, the lights had to be taken down just days after the tree was lit.

Squirrels: 1, city: 0.

To keep the Christmas tree lit, Modern Pest Services this year donated and installed a Tree-Shock System.

Colton Tlumac, general manager of the Wildlife Division at Modern Pest, said the shock system is endorsed by the U.S. Humane Society and would not harm the squirrels. It would give them a mild shock to keep them off the decorated spruce tree.


This year, the lights were bright on the Kennedy Park Christmas tree.

City: 1, squirrels: 1.

After the system was installed, PETA said shocking the squirrels may not physically harm them, but wasn’t kind. PETA offered to give the squirrels “a holiday gift that would keep them away from the tree as well as fill their bellies: a stash of squirrel-friendly foods, such as acorns and other nuts.”

Mayor Robert Macdonald said it was fine with him, as long as PETA didn’t leave a pile of nuts that would become a litter or waste issue. Meanwhile, Tlumac said feeding the squirrels wouldn’t deter them from seeking cones in the Christmas tree because squirrels gather food rather than eating it on the spot.

“They would simply take the food and put it in storage,” he said.

On Wednesday, Lewiston City Hall spokeswoman Dottie Perham-Whittier said she hadn’t heard anything about PETA furnishing nuts.


Public Works Director David Jones said PETA wanted to nail a feeder to one of the park’s trees, “but had no plan on how they would continue filling the feeder. I told them I was not interested in them nailing anything into one of our trees.”

So PETA wasn’t allowed to leave nuts on the ground or in a feeder.

PETA tried to work with city officials to feed the squirrels while avoiding creating a nuisance, but the city “would not provide any specifics. When we proposed installing a feeder, the city declined,” Perle said.

“We’re hoping for a merrier Christmas for the squirrels in Lewiston next year. PETA stands at the ready to provide a squirrel feeder to lure wildlife away from the Lewiston tree next year, so that all of the city’s residents, including wildlife, can enjoy the season.”

An inspection of the park’s Christmas tree Wednesday revealed little squirrel traffic.

There was one set of what appeared to be squirrel footprints on the newly fallen snow leading to the tree and away from it. There were no marks on the snow where squirrels had fallen, or any squirrel bodies.


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