|Hunter showing off squirrel catch|
(Scroll down for video) A New York fire department has announced that it would be hosting a squirrel shooting contest, according to press reports in New York.
The weekend squirrel shooting competition in upstate New York, is now a sold out event, with all 1,000 tickets gone, according to organizers, despite an effort by animal rights and other pro gun control groups, to cancel the event.
The seventh annual Hazzard County Squirrel Slam, will raise funds for the Holley Volunteer Fire Department, who is the sponsor of the event.
Prizes range from $50 to $200 which will be awarded on Saturday, for the biggest five dead squirrels. Five rifles and shotguns will also be given away, according to the fire department’s website.
Critics have tried to stop the event through online petitions and protests, calling the event cruel and a bad example for children. The contest for red and gray squirrels is open to anyone over 12-years-old with a hunting license.
"Declaring someone a winner for killing the most animals affects children and the community at large who believe that wildlife is important. Also, killing for a monetary award is not commendable," Brian Shapiro, who is the state director of New York Humane Society, said in a letter to the Holley fire chief.
State Senator Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat, called the contest crazy during a news conference in Albany with the group Friends of Animals earlier this week. The group planned to protest at the Holley Fire House on Saturday afternoon.