The Squirrels of Washington Square Park have Many Fans But Now also a Killer in their Midst

WSP Squirrel on the Old Benches

Keeping on a protect wildlife theme, the squirrels at Washington Square Park have many fans but not all people are fans. Tragically, there is a woman who is allowing her dog to attack and, in many instances, kill the WSP squirrels. This has been going on for at least a month, if not longer.

As first reported on The New York Squirrel Blog:

We just heard that there is a woman who allows her dog (a German Shepherd mix) to hunt and kill squirrels in Washington Square Park on the NE side. Quite a few squirrels; five that our informants know of in the past few weeks. The dog enjoys killing and they think she does too.

They just discovered this a few days ago and sent a complaint to the current Park Manager. Then yesterday as they were walking through the park, they came upon people gathered around a dying young squirrel. Some of the chess players there saw the dog attack. The woman and dog had just left the park.

Another squirrel was located at the base of the Hangman’s Tree that night. He has two broken legs, which have been set by a vet. With luck, he’ll have use of at least three, but is going to have a hard recovery. It’s not known if he was chased by the same dog, but it’s likely.

There are people watching out for her now, and working on getting more information. She appears in the park around 8 am, and then around 5 pm. Yesterday she varied her routine. She’s young, medium height, slim, w/long dark shiny hair. She wears sunglasses.

Her age has since been reported as close to forty.

According to WSP activist and squirrel nurturer Suzan Goren, the last known dog-squirrel encounter ending in the squirrel being mauled and killed occurred last Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. It is said that this woman allows this on purpose, letting her dog escape out of the dog run, feigning innocence about it, alternating with outrage if questioned.

This story was exposed further in Saturday’s New York Daily News.

If you witness this, The New York Squirrel blog asks people to “call the Parks Office at 212.387.7676 if she’s seen. They want her apprehended for animal abuse.”

It’s sad all the way around – for this woman, the dog, and obviously the squirrels. I was in Madison Square Park recently and was a bit appalled at the number of people who allow their dogs to chase squirrels and laugh about it. It becomes a form of the dog’s play activity and also seems to amuse the owner-guardians of the dog but I’m sure they can find other activities that do both. It’s likely that the Madison Square squirrels do not have as active a squirrel protectors’ community as the ones living in Washington Square Park.

Photo: Cathryn

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4 thoughts on “The Squirrels of Washington Square Park have Many Fans But Now also a Killer in their Midst”

  1. so stupid.. im sure the girl isnt intentionally letting the dog kill them. Forget “catching” the squirrel killer..lets catch the person or persons responsible for the horrid destruction of the park and misapproriaation of funds…where is the money? why isnt the park done? where is the new dog run? why are the trees cut down? WHAT ABOUT THAT?

  2. Hi Pattycake, I’ve heard enough to believe that some malicious intent may be going on in relation to the woman and the squirrels. She knows her dog(s) is(are) aggressive – I don’t blame them, they’ve been encouraged by her – and I’ve heard they’ve attacked other dogs to the point where she’s been banned from the LeRoy Park Dog Run.

    Re: the park itself, I agree with you! I’ve tried to get questions answered and more scrutiny on the process itself at Community Board meetings. The chair of the Parks Committee is very evasive and states there’s nothing more they can do. (He is a former Parks Department employee, it should also be noted.) The head of Community Board 2, Jo Hamilton, hasn’t given it her attention, leaving it in Parks Committee’s hands, but I don’t think people are pressuring her about it either. I’ve written to Council member Margaret Chin – who took Alan Gerson’s place – with finally a response from her sister who works in her office. I sent her a bunch of documents and then no further communication.

    Without a loud yet effective group asking questions, I don’t know how anything can be achieved. Many who were involved initially either don’t attend or don’t speak out anymore. It is disheartening. But I am happy to have others speak out if they would!

    You can contact Margaret Chin at Please do! She needs to hear from people.

    I may print your letter on the blog – see if anyone else has any other thoughts. You ask good questions but asking them of (CB2 Parks Chair) Tobi Bergman and (CB2 Board Chair and WSP Task Force Chair) Jo Hamilton and Margaret Chin and (Parks Commissioner) Adrian Benepe would be a great follow-up.

    Thanks for writing.

    WSP Blog

    p.s. Which trees are you referring to?

  3. She was let her dogs go many times and have killed many squirrels in the park. She has to go to criminal court Dec. 14th at 9:30am.

  4. She has let her dogs go many times and have killed many squirrels in the park. She has to go to criminal court Dec. 14th at 9:30am.


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