Peanut is a blind Eastern Grey squirrel in a precarious situation. After a traumatic incident as a baby, Peanut survived a series of events ending with the Vermont State Game Warden bringing her to a licensed rehabber. She arrived at Four Wands Wildlife Rehabilitation in 2017, was diagnosed with cataracts, and over time went blind. As a disabled squirrel, she can’t safely live outdoors, and has been in sanctuary, without incident, ever since. Aimee, the rehabber, had a verbal agreement to let Peanut live the remainder of her life there, but it wasn’t in writing, and the new warden has chosen not to honor it.
The consequence of withdrawing the agreement is that Peanut would be taken and killed, and Aimee could lose her rehab license for housing a “non-releasable” wild animal.
Rehabbing is a volunteer job with no pay, long hours, and high stress, requiring extensive training, ongoing education, and community support. Rehabbers donate their time to care to nonhuman animals in need. Laws governing rehabilitation of free living animals (wildlife) are human created and are often center human interests. Regulations don’t take into account nuances such as disability, individuality, and personal autonomy for nonhumans.
Peanut is disabled, but has a fulfilling life. However, her life is at odds with state law, and Aimee is now in a legal battle fighting for Peanut’s life. If she loses her license, not only will Peanut be killed, but future animals requiring a rehabber in her area will be at a severe disadvantage, putting strain on other already overburdened rehabbers.
In the long term, laws must center nonhuman animal needs by considering them as individuals instead of attempting one-size-fits all legislation that reduces them to just a member of their species. Who are we, as humans, to decide whose life is worth saving based on ability? When does “non-releasable” stop being about presumed quality of life, and begin to suggest eugenics?
In the short term support Peanut by signing the petition in @FourWandsWildlife bio and contacting VT Gov Phil Scott.
Petition link: https://www.change.org/p/governor-phil-scott-save-peanut