(Crimson Neck, N.H.) – Police in a small New Hampshire town shot an escaped chinchilla down from a tree Monday afternoon, sparking outcry from animal rights activists. Local authorities said the police were acting in the interest of public safety.
The adorable, bright-eyed rodent, Celine, had clambered the small maple tree in an apparent search for food. It’s former owner,Tiffany LeRoux, a part-time hairdresser and collector of Barbie dolls, was reached for comment:
“I accidentally left her cage open. I’ve been so frazzled since I started working on my Associates Degree, and have been making a lot of little boo-boos” she said, tears welling in her heavily mascara-lined eyes. “I feel terrible. The police had no right to do this. Celine wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
Crimson Neck Police Captain, Rock Kilgore, defended the department’s actions. “This was a non-native, highly unpredictable animal. Our job is to serve and protect, and that is exactly what we did.”
Animal activists picketed the police station, insisting that the chinchilla could have been left to its own devices, or at most, been tranquilized and removed. With the nearest elementary school being more than two miles away, the wayward pet seemed to present little threat to area children.
When pressed on the matter, Captain Kilgore became visibly defensive. “We had a bear come through in ’79. We took care of that, too. We are police officers –this is what we do.”
Ms. LeRoux says she is dying to replace Celine, but will not rush to do so. “I’ll be done my degree in three years, maybe four. After that I will definitely get a new one…but nothing can replace Celine.”
The dead chinchilla was allegedly disposed of in a dumpster behind the police station.