The Journal Gazette
Thursday, January 16, 2020 1:00 am

June 22, 1954: Capturing squirrel that bit boy

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

When 6-year-old Bill Leming was bitten by a squirrel, police were called. The squirrel needed to be arrested ... well, captured, at least, to make sure it didn't have rabies.

So one of the officers grabbed a ladder and headed up a tree in Bill's backyard. The other stayed below to grab the squirrel when it fell out of the tree about half an hour later.

Just when they thought they had it – nope, up another tree it went. So the officers began their work again.

Eventually it was captured under a bucket. The original story from The Journal Gazette is below.

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"Police Officers Capture Squirrel That Bit Child" (June 23, 1954)

"Being up with a sick squirrel" is a lot more unpleasant than performing the age-old alibi of "being up with a sick friend."

Two Fort Wayne policemen learned that yesterday after they were called to 3005 N. Anthony Blvd. There, Bill Leming, 6-year-old son of Dr. and Mrs. B.L. Leming, had been bitten on the finger by a sick squirrel. He had been treated at Parkview Memorial Hospital.

The policemen's job: Get the squirrel. It had to be captured to see if it had rabies.

So, the policemen found a ladder and went into the Leming's backyard. They saw the sick but active squirrel in one of the trees. Office Don Schoenherr climbed the ladder while Officer Albert Bragalone prepared to apprehend the creature when it dropped to earth.

Thirty-five minutes later, Officer Schoenherr was still climbing about the tree, armed with a short pole. He finally made a swipe with the pole and knocked the squirrel to the ground. There, Officer Bragalone prepared to capture the squirrel which he considered unconscious.

It was not. Before he could corral the beast, it was up another tree. So, Officer Schoenherr climbed down the ladder – the ladder was moved to the other tree – and Officer Schoenherr again ascended. Thirty minutes later and after much sweating and tree wandering, Schoenherr again knocked the squirrel to earth. This time, the other officer was ready. he slapped a bucket over the animal.

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