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Squirreling around in the 47th Ward

Squirreling around in the 47th Ward

Submitted on Tue, 03/20/2007 – 17:13.

Story by George Slefo

Squirrels have found a new home in the 47th Ward – resident vehicles.

A few residents of the 47th Ward on the city’s Northside say squirrels are climbing into their SUVs and minivans, then chewing through cables under the hood where the animals are building nests. The damage in one case totaled $200.

And while there have no been complaints to Ald. Gene Schulter, the official says there’s little he can do.

“This is really some bad luck on my part,” said 27-year-old Isaac Gabriel, an unemployed resident of the 47th Ward. “Out of all the cars out there this [squirrel] had to chew up mine.”

Gabriel said he noticed his Jeep having problems when shifting gears on the highway. When he pulled over and popped his hood, he was shocked to see the nest of leaves and chewed cables that lay on top of his engine.

“What are you going to do?” Gabriel said. “It’s not like the city can do anything anyway. What am I going to say? ‘Hello City of Chicago, yeah a squirrel just chewed up my engine.’ They’ll laugh at me.”

Gabriel said he isn’t the only one affected by the squirrels. His long-time neighbor also had his van attacked by the varmints. One way, some say, to keep squirrels at bay is to spray the vehicle with coyote urine.

Employees at the Ace Hardware, 4874 N. Lincoln Ave., not too far from where Gabriel’s jeep was infiltrated, said there “really isn’t a demand” for coyote urine, but residents do ask for it.

“We sell coyote urine, but I recommend our residents to use Squirrel Away,” said Dave Archulata, manager at Ace Hardware. “It’s a big can, and you just spray it on your engine, garbage or whatever you want to keep squirrels away.”

The store sells the cans for $5 to $12.

The Chicago Animal Control Department says the city workers will not be sent out for “squirrel related problems.”

“There really isn’t anything we can do,” said Jolene Abano, speaking for the animal control agency. “I’ve never heard anything about squirrels chewing cables.”

Gabriel said it isn’t fair that he pays for a city parking sticker and can’t feel safe about parking his car on the street.

“If this happens again, what am I going to do? Dish out another $200?” Gabriel said.

Alderman Schulter, who learned of the problem from www.creatingcommunityconnections, said he’s never heard of such a thing.

“Is this some kind of joke? I’ve lived here my whole life and never heard anything of that nature,” Schulter said.

City Life Eco & Environment Public
47th ward gene schulter squirrels

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