Pets and Animals | Is it OK to shoot BBs at squirrels, even if you don’t intend to harm them?

Video can bb guns kill animals

DEAR JOAN: Is it OK to scare squirrels off using a BB gun, even if I hit them occasionally?

Pets and Animals | Is it OK to shoot BBs at squirrels, even if you don’t intend to harm them?Mike Shaw, Whittier

DEAR MIKE: It’s probably not a good idea to use a BB gun to scare off squirrels, especially if you occasionally hit them. While a BB isn’t likely to kill, it can injure — yes, our mothers were right about putting out an eye — and as squirrels don’t have good health care plans, even minor wounds can become infected and eventually kill the animal in a prolonged and cruel manner.

There’s also state law to consider. While it’s legal to trap Eastern gray squirrels on your property, the Western gray squirrel — a California native — is protected at all times except during hunting season, which usually runs from mid September to January.

In that case, you’d need a hunting license, but before you start planning to get one, you should know that Los Angeles County and much of Southern California are in a zone where there is no hunting season for the squirrels.

State game laws still allow you to trap Eastern grays on your property, but the Western grays would require special permission from the state.

I’d save the BBs for target shooting of inanimate objects. Your neighbors might be relieved as well.

DEAR JOAN: House wrens started to build a nest in one of the two hanging plants in our backyard.

The hanging plants, which are in full bloom, are for the hummingbird that is hatching her eggs in one of the trees also in our backyard. We have two hummingbird feeders as well. We have had hummies for the last six years.

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My problem now is how to water the hanging plant, not knowing exactly where the nest is. The hanging plant is about 6-feet high but I did not attempt to look closer. I’d rather lose the plant altogether than drive him away. I can buy another plant, but I value your advice.

Anna, Union City

DEAR ANNA: We sometimes face difficult decisions in trying to live in harmony with nature. I appreciate that you don’t want to do anything to disturb the nest and the birds.

It probably would be simpler to get another plant for the hummingbirds and leave Mama and Papa wren alone, but if you can pinpoint the location of the nest, you could water off to the side.

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An easy way would be to put a few ice cubes in the pot and let them water the plant as they melt. However, the birds probably will be in the nest only for about a month, and your plant might be able to withstand a short drought.

DEAR JOAN: I know most cities have leash laws, but do they require that the leash be under the control of a competent person?

During my morning walk recently, I passed a small child walking alone with a large dog that he could not control if it became necessary.

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George, Walnut Creek

DEAR GEORGE: Leash laws vary in different jurisdictions, but I didn’t find any that had an age requirement. However, all the ones I checked require that the dog be under the control of the handler. In this case, it would be a possible violation if the child was unable to control the dog. It’s good to teach children responsibility in caring for pets, but they need adult backup.

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