DNR investigating incidents of squirrels shot with darts in St. Cloud

DNR investigating incidents of squirrels shot with darts in St. Cloud

ST. CLOUD — Dodger the squirrel got his name as a joke.

When Robbi Hoy, founder and president of Central Minnesota Wildlife Rehabilitation, was picking Dodger up from Companions Animal Hospital Thursday night, she thought she’d call him Lucky, but her husband wasn’t for it. Every injured animal gets named Lucky, Hoy said he told her. 

They called him Dodger, because he dodged a metaphorical bullet by surviving. With darts, though, he wasn’t as lucky.

Dodger is one of several squirrels reported to have been wounded by darts and left to wander on the east side of St. Cloud. Hoy said the sightings are particularly concentrated around Killian Boulevard and 9th Street Southeast, several blocks away from Munsinger and Clemens gardens.

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“I’ve been surprised … at the care that the public is showing in this case,” Hoy said.

Dodger so far has survived his wounds from the two metal darts embedded in his body. According to a Companions Animal Hospital post on Facebook yesterday, he’s one of seven squirrels reported to have been shot recently.

Hoy said she can’t confirm the true number of squirrels, because sometimes calls are anonymous and don’t contain much information. However, she guessed she’s received at least a dozen calls about these darts. She said she has seen photos of other squirrels.

“It’s just heartbreaking to see it,” Hoy said.

St. Cloud Police Assistant Chief Jeff Oxton said the Department of Natural Resources is taking the lead on an investigation into the incidents. Harland Hiemstra, regional information officer for the DNR, said the DNR is aware of the incidents and has been in communication with the St. Cloud Police Department but can’t comment on the investigation because it is still active.

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