HOME ABOUT CAMPAIGNS CRISIS CENTER ACTIVIST CENTER MEDIA CENTER HUNTING ACCIDENTS C.A.S.H. NEWSLETTER

CASH Courier > 1995 Spring-Summer Issue

Selected Articles from our newsletter

The C.A.S.H. Courier

ARTICLE from the Spring-Summer 1995 Issue 

WILDLIFE POKER

By Ann Dirgni

It was a beautiful spring day in May – very clear, very soft. I was feeding “the kids” (my name for the orphaned and injured wildlife who get dropped off with me in the spring). Then the doorbell rang, and there they were in full uniform – the DEC police, the God Squad.

“We have a report that you are caring for a baby squirrel.” “Yes that’s what I do,” I answered, trying to hide any surprise and fear. You see, I hadn’t gotten my paperwork in for the license renewal due to all the animals that had to be cared for. I had cleared it, though, with the “Special Licensing Unit” of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). They assured me that everything was in order and to send in the paperwork when I could.

“Your license is no longer valid,” he said. “I can issue you a summons.”

“I cleared it with the licensing unit.”

“Produce the license.”

“I can only produce last year’s license,” holding back my frustration.

“Do you have a squirrel?”

“Yes.”

“Bring it out.”

I didn’t have a baby squirrel. I had three, plus a whole lot of other animals. I also knew they wanted me to be afraid, very afraid, and I was – not for myself, but for the animals. So the game had begun – “Wildlife Poker.” Only the game isn’t played with cards but lives.

It was my move. I told myself to buy time by bluffing. “Sure I’ll bring him out.” I showed no visible fear. I rushed into the room and tried to hide everyone in the closet (it was stupid but I felt it was the only choice). Oh God, the carrier wouldn’t fit! (Hands now shaking) Please God. It was in.

Do you know this terror? The terror that comes from the possible murder of loved ones? So I have to pick a squirrel. Which one? The weakest? The strongest? Who is most likely to survive THEM? My babies were all so little. I hated myself for not being able to protect the little ones. I had raised them since they were blind and hairless. My face is the only face they know. I cannot choose! “Forgive me little one, I love you,” words I believed somehow were understood. If there’s a god for squirrels, help us now. I choose the strongest; perhaps they’ll let him go.

Not acknowledging the delay. “He’s a cute little fellow, how old?”

“Four weeks. His eyes recently opened and he’s starting to eat alone.” (Will he understand that Hook is too young to die?) Will they care about Hook? Will they let him live? Hook hangs on to me like a precious jewel. These are my most precious jewels. I desperately search for last year’s paperwork, but my husband’s assistant has misplaced it. The officer is watching me, but I’m no longer afraid – blessed relief flows over me. Hook and I are one as he clings to his soulmate’s neck. They will take him over my dead body.

The officer finally said, “Okay, you get your ’95 license. Keep the squirrel for now, but I’ll be back.”

I kiss my little one over and over, feeling ashamed that I would turn him over. Why didn’t I tell them to go to hell? I vow never again to be unprepared.

Today, my license is enlarged to poster size and taped to my door. I carry the original in my wallet. I have ripped up a copy on local cable TV here for a program in which I’ve exposed the DEC for what I know them to be. I am a warrior for wildlife: a wildlife warrior. I like that. I consider it a privilege to be a part of the wildlife community. I thank them for choosing me.

ANN DIRGNI IS A NYS LICENSED WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR. SHE SAVES HUNDREDS OF WILD ANIMALS ANNUALLY AT HER OWN EXPENSE WITHOUT HELP FROM THE GAME AGENCY. SHE HAS STARTED HER OWN ORGANIZATION CALLED “WILDLIFE WARRIORS – WLWA” POB 553, NEW YORK CITY, NY.

Back to 1995 Spring-Summer Issue
Back to C.A.S.H. Courier Article Archive

 
 

Home  |  About  |  Campaigns  |  Crisis Center  |  Activists  |  Media  |  Hunting Accidents  |  Newsletter

C.A.S.H.
PO Box 562 New Paltz, NY 12561
Phone 845-256-1400 Fax 845-818-3622
E-mail: cash@cashwildwatch.org
Anne Muller - President

 

C.A.S.H. is a committee of Wildlife Watch, Inc.
a 501(c)3 Not-for-Profit Corporation.
Contributions are tax-deductible.

All content copyright C.A.S.H. unless otherwise noted.

We welcome your comments
   

Thank you for visiting all-creatures.org

Sponsored & Maintained by The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation