By Sabina Mollot
Just when you thought it was safe to unwrap your Snickers bar in Stuyvesant Town, reports have surfaced of another child getting attacked by a squirrel. Last Thursday, in its weekly newsletter to residents, StuyTown Property Services stated that a child was scratched when a squirrel leapt out of a garbage can.
Because of this, management is asking residents not to feed the local wildlife anywhere on the property. SPS also not so subtly alluded to the fact that residents have been ignoring its rule about not feeding squirrels within 50 feet of the playgrounds specifically for children’s use.
Now, along with the signs, if a resident is spotted by a public safety officer feeding the critters near any of those five children’s playgrounds, he or she will be told to stop, a spokesperson for management told us. The rep added that the scratch received by the child wasn’t serious.
In the emailed newsletter, SPS CEO and Stuy Town general manager Rick Hayduk said, “StuyTown Property Services wants to remind all residents that the squirrels cohabitating in PCVST are wild animals.
“Although appearing to be friendly, squirrels are not pets and are capable of biting or scratching if they are touched or fed by people. We ask all residents and guests not to engage the squirrels (or any of the neighboring wildlife) in any way. Included in this is the recommendation that residents and guests refrain from feeding squirrels or any of the wildlife on the property.”
Last summer, as reported by Town & Village, there were three incidents of squirrels biting children reported by parents in Stuyvesant Town. This led to plenty of heated debate (also in this newspaper) as to whether or not the bushy-tailed beggars were getting more aggressive.
However, a couple of residents we spoke with this week didn’t think prohibiting feeding entirely was necessary.
“We have to co-exist, squirrels and people,” said Chris Perednia, a retired cop. And, he added, “You’re more apt to bring home cooties from stepping in dogs*** than from having a negative encounter with a squirrel.”
Television producer Mark Sofer, while out in the Oval, said he was concerned about the fate of the critters if residents were to all of a sudden stop providing them with food.
“They haven’t fended for themselves in years and probably rely on tenants feeding them,” he said. “I think people should still feed the squirrels but parents and children should approach with caution. I don’t think kids should go up to strange dogs and feed them, either.”