Authorities are searching for an Alabama man they believe may have fed methamphetamine to a pet squirrel in order to keep the animal as a trained attack squirrel.
Investigators with the Limestone County Sheriff's Office said they searched an apartment in the county at around 8:30 a.m. on Monday in response to tips they’d received regarding the animal, WHNT reports. During the search, they found meth and drug paraphernalia, as well as body armor and ammunition, in the home, and took 37-year-old Ronnie Reynolds into custody.
They also found a squirrel in a cage, prompting them to call in officials with animal control, according to the outlet. Those officials then contacted the Alabama Game and Fish Division of the Department of Conservation, who told them that it’s illegal for anyone to keep a squirrel as a pet; they instructed deputies to release the animal back into the wild, which they did without incident.
Authorities believe that Mickey Paulk, 35, is responsible for the “attack squirrel,” but he has yet to be located by police, The News Courier reports. The man who was found in the home — Reynolds — was booked on charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and loitering at a known drug house before being released on $4,000 bond, according to the outlet.
Officials say that there was no safe way to test the squirrel for meth, according to another WHNT report.
As news of the so-called attack squirrel spread, the animal’s alleged owner — who has yet to be apprehended by police — took to social media to tell his side of the story and deny ever having given the animal illicit drugs.
“You can't give squirrels meth. It would kill 'em,” Paulk said, before adding that he’s never tried it. He went on to confirm that he was not present when authorities executed a search warrant on the residence where the squirrel was found, and he denied currently living there.
During the video, Paulk can be seen petting a squirrel whom he suggests is the same one that the police referred to, though there is no way to verify that it is indeed the same animal.
While Paulk said that the squirrel, who is allegedly a little over 10 months old, is a “mean motherf--ker,” he denied that the animal is a “trained attack squirrel.”
“He’s not on meth, I’m pretty sure,” he said, stroking the animal. “I better not find out he’s on meth, anyway.”
Paulk then claimed that he returned to the residence and found the squirrel, whom he said had never been outside before, in a tree; he whistled and the animal came and sat on his shoulder, Paulk claimed. He then confirmed that “the squirrel is safe, y’all.”
Stephen Young, a spokesman for the Limestone County Sheriff's Office, confirmed on Wednesday that they are still looking for Paulk, who they say has numerous prior offenses, according to Fox News. They are aware of the video and have confirmed that the man in the brief clip is indeed Paulk.
They were, however, unable to confirm that the squirrel in the clip is the same one found in the home.
“We don't know if he might even have two squirrels,” Young said, according to Fox News. “It would just be speculation.”
Anyone who may have information on where Paulk may be is encouraged to contact the Limestone County Sheriff's Office at (256) 232-0111.
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