The video: Video of a police officer pepper spraying a baby squirrel has incensed animal-rights advocates — and become a YouTube sensation. Last week, administrators at Kimbrough Middle School in Mesquite, Texas, called animal control after reports surfaced that the rodent had been chasing students around school premises. When an officer arrived, he wasted little time in uncorking a can of pepper spray on the skittish animal, to the horror of students, who can be heard urging the officer to stop, shouting "No!" and "Don't spray him!" as the squirrel writhes in agony. (Watch the cellphone video below.) The squirrel survived the incident unharmed, and was eventually released back into the wild.
The reaction: The Mesquite Police Department defended the officer's actions, claiming that the squirrel had been acting erratically, and may have been rabid. Students at the school, though, claim it wasn't bothering anyone. "[It] didn't do anything at all. It didn't try to attack us or anything," said one eighth grader, quoted by the local Fox affiliate . Oh, c'mon, says Carmel Lobello at Death + Taxes. "As everyone knows, squirrels are punks. They're responsible for greedy, destructive nibbling, torturing cats by luring them into trees, and in the case of this little squirt, terrorizing middle-schoolers." The video really tells the story, says Max Read at Gawker. "Now that the cop has been caught on film, let's hope PETA or some other animal rights group comes calling." Judge for yourself: