I am Eleanor White, now fully retired, having had a career in engineering first, then computer programming. In the spring of 2000, the sabotage level at my employer had reached the point where I was forced to resign, three years from qualifying for retirement.
The sabotage level had become so severe that almost every machine I would repair, upgrade, or in some cases just install would be found inoperable the next morning. In some of these cases, the equipment was destroyed, and in other cases, sabotage was found and fixed.
Programs I would write would malfunction either the next day, or sometimes the programs would refuse to work in spite of having other well qualified programmers check for errors and finding none. Clearly the operating system had been modified to recognize programs written by me and cause them to malfunction or refuse to run at all.
In spite of clear cut evidence, the managers above me refused to even discuss the obvious sabotage. I had no choice but to resign because I was no longer contributing useful work in return for my salary.
I found a couple of technical openings in my city of Hamilton, Ontario, and in those cases, the person hiring was very interested in my skill set and experience. However, inevitably, when I would check back a few days later, all of a sudden there was no opening. One of the more persistent tactics used by organized stalkers is to spread lies about the target. My impression was that the stalkers had ensured I would not be able to find another technical job.
Needing to support myself, I took a job as a part-time security guard. I would have been glad to work full time as a guard but full time openings went to guards with seniority. So this was fine, a chance to learn how to live on very little.
One thing the part time schedule did was give me lots of time off.
At that time, I was living next to a huge, beautifully landscaped park, about a quarter mile wide and a half mile long. Many beautiful mature trees of many different species. Naturally, I took the opportunity to spend time there.
While doing that I fell in love. With the approximately 200 squirrels who called this beautiful park home. I spent many hours hanging out with them, tossing them treats, and learning about their lifestyle.
This continued for eight years, three working as a part time guard, and five fully retired.
The first year was an animal lover's dream. These little folks were already partly tame, generations of them having been accustomed to human company. There were several other people who liked to hang out with the squirrels as well.
I just couldn't get enough of the company of the squirrels.
This turned to Hell in the second year. Organized stalking perpetrators carefully observe what the target enjoys, and will do all they can short of being highly visible, to destroy whatever that activity is.
In this case, and this did NOT happen in the first year, almost every time I would sit down to enjoy the company of one of the squirrel colonies, someone would come along and do something to break it up.
The park seemed to always have "joggers" who just had to alter course way off the paths and run right through a brushy area where I was communing with the squirrels. Or groups of kids would suddenly find an obscure area I was at the most attractive place to be. Some would throw stones, acorns, berries at the squirrels and/or at me. Some would just start a screamfest.
Or a family would decide that some of the least attractive corners of the park were just where they needed to have a picnic lunch. Really rather dirty areas with branches and leaf debris, and weeds.
But the most invasive thing that began happening in my second year of squirrelling were the dog owners who just had to walk their dogs through the middle of a gathering of squirrels I was with. Even way off the paths, which is where dog owners used to walk their dogs during my first year of squirrelling.
I made a point of watching the other squirrellers carefully, and in my eight years there, I never saw a single instance of any park user or dog bothering them.
In the third year, these dog owners got more aggressive. They would walk up to where I was, take their dog off the leash, (a bylaw violation,) and say "Go get 'em boy!" And those dogs did go after the innocent squirrels with great gusto. This would happen at least once, and sometimes 2 or even 3 times each day I visited the park.
All the while, no other squirrellers were observed having this problem. I would occasionally ask them if they were having this problem, and they did not have the problem.
Organized stalking perpetrators always try to make their attacks look like "life's normal breaks," and they succeeded well at maintaining their cover until my last year at the park. At that point, they got so aggressive that other squirrellers noticed.
In my last year at the park, having had my patience severely tested, I began turning in written reports, sent by mail, to the city's animal control officer in charge. These folks wore uniforms and badges, and had some degree of police authority where animal matters were concerned. They would not arrest, but they could issue summonses, and the police backed them up in extreme cases.
The officer in charge was polite but oh-so-sorry he just couldn't do anything about this. He claimed there was no way he could help unless one of his officers saw an act of animal cruelty in progress. I had to remain polite, but I knew this fellow was pretending helplessness. So I kept sending detailed reports for a year.
The dog owners' facial expressions and body language showed obvious pleasure in this activity. They didn't appear to have the slightest worry that they could be prosecuted for anything.
I actually observed one owner being coached as to how to guide her dog over to the squirrel colony I was at.
When this seemed blackest, I learned that one of the city councillors had been an activist against animal cruelty for years. His particular organization was called "Zoochek", and was concerned about cruelty to zoo animals.
So I researched a bit of federal and provincial law relating to animals and animal cruelty, and found out that cities in Ontario are allowed to enact and enforce their own animal cruelty bylaws. I carried a letter asking this city councillor to submit an animal cruelty law for the city making harassing animals a prosecutable offence.
The first thing the councillor did was to call the officer in charge of animal control to find out what laws existed.
WELL! All of a sudden, a bylaw explicitly prohibiting harming or disturbing park animals materialized! It had been there all the time, and the animal control officer in charge, who is responsible for enforcing animal related bylaws, "didn't know" it was there!
That in itself is suspicious. But there's more: NOT ONE SINGLE INCIDENT OF DOGS HARASSING SQUIRRELS OCCURRED AFTER THAT BYLAW TURNED UP!
Think about that - SEVEN YEARS of daily dog attacks vanished on the spot! Permanently. No dog attacks after that. And by that time, a couple of hundred dog owners had participated, some from out of town. I tracked dog owners back to their vehicles and many bore dealer logos from places far from the city.
Ask yourself how the dog owners all suddenly knew that they no longer had cover to engage in their "sport." Nothing was posted publicly.
That wasn't the end of the harassment, of course.
The year 2007 was my last full year in that city (Hamilton, Ontario.) That summer, we had a six month drought during which at most a few drops of rain fell, not enough to wet the pavement, just a few spots here and there. No actual water that a small animal could drink.
It was so dry that the soil blew out from under some of the mature oak trees, leaving the roots exposed like "legs."
Even before 2007, there had been several dry years, little to no snow, and critically important for small animals, no DEW. Hamilton is on the face of the Niagara Escarpment, which is a very long cliff over which Niagara Falls flows.
There are several small creeks running through Hamilton which flow over the escarpment. There are also many springs which flow out of the escarpment face. By the drought of the summer of 2007, all these were bone dry. Hamiltonians who had lived there for decades commented that they had never seen this happen.
The squirrels were in a desperate situation. Dew has always been their main source of water when rainfall ceases. And there wasn't a drop to be had.
So I set about placing an average of 25 dishes and cups of water at many different places in the park, and filled them every day when there was no snow or rain, and that was most days. I had to do this at the crack of dawn to avoid attracting the attention of the public, as vandalism would follow automatically. Summer 2007 was so dry and the squirrels so thirsty I had to fill them again daytime.
I could not fill all the dishes daytime due to the people attending the park, but was able to refill some of them.
At one point, I stood by a freshly filled dish and counted squirrels using it for ten minutes. FORTY squirrels drank from that dish in ten minutes, showing how thirsty they were.
For the information of readers who may be interested in helping their local small animals survive in future drought conditions, don't worry about letting water freeze. The squirrels will drink by using their sharp front teeth to scrape deep grooves in the ice.
Squirrels also enjoy eating ice cubes on cold, snowless winter days. They will pick them up in their mouth and take them up to a branch and nibble on them just as they do with other treats. Smaller ice cubes are best, as squirrels' mouths aren't huge.
IMPORTANT: NEVER WATER WILDLIFE WITH METAL DISHES OR CUPS. They could be severly injured by having their lips or tongues frozen to cold metal.
Because the vegetation was regularly trimmed by park staff and park gardening volunteers, and because not every staffer is a small animal enthusiast, it was always a problem to find ways to hide the dishes and cups. Some dishes could be placed in bushes among the weeds growing within the bush. Some dishes had to be moved according to various park activities, which happen regularly in the summer.
I spray painted my clear plastic cups with olive drab (military camouflage) paint on the outside to make them less visible.
I was able to attach some cups to larger bush stems, using stainless steel screws and large flat washers. Screws into living stems must not be completely tight and must be loosened to offset stem growth each Spring. Cushion the washers and cup with non-hardening weatherstripping compound. This holds the cup vertical without causing so much strain that the cup cracks.
I used the same technique to attach drinking cups into recesses on mature tree trunks, where the general public would not normally be able to see the cup.
I would "announce" initially, and intermittently, the presence of a water dish or cup by leaving a few peanuts tucked right at the side of the cup or dish. That ensured the squirrels would find them.
Interestingly, the organized stalkers left most of these dishes and cups alone, most of the time. There would be periods when they would attack by dumping the water and punching holes in the bottom, or cracking the cups, or stuffing them full of dirt and old leaves, but this would only happen maybe 10% of the time on average. A pleasant surprise, but based on a couple of decades of being an organized stalking target, my guess is that they didn't want to give me too much evidence of their attacks.
But this changed once I, and the perps, discovered there was a specific law against what the dog owner perps were doing.
I began to see the same crew of city "forestry" workers, young tough guys, kind of shadowing me in their truck every time I visited the park. When I would go in early to try to fill the water dishes and cups, these dudes were often there, sometimes much earlier than their normal start time, watching me very intensely.
Sometimes, they would arrive at an area with a couple of dishes and cups ahead of me, just parked there, grinning at me, knowing I could not water that area that day.
They had an official city truck and were there throughout the days, doing their "work."
What they did as work was, in the area of every one of my water dishes and cups, they would clip a little foliage away. They would saunter around the park, taking very small amounts of foliage in any one day. Continually watching me closely.
For weeks, then months. Non stop. Regardless of weather. Park staff would plow access paths in snow for their truck so that these "workers" had access to every place where I had a cup. By early 2008, they had totally removed all the cover I depended on to keep my watering cups and dishes out of sight of the park using public.
One of the most bizarre removals was that of a perfectly healthy beautiful 50-foot spruce tree, with a trunk diameter of 16 inches. This tree had an unusually deep recess on one side, providing perfect cover for a squirrel water cup. One bright day, a tree removal crew arrived and by noon, all that was left was a stump cut right to ground level. That was in an area where it was very difficult to hide watering cups too. That tree was in no way a safety threat and did not interfere with any park function.
Fortunately, winter snow had broken the 2007 drought, and if I had stayed at that location, watering would have been made extremely difficult. Praise be to God, some of my fellow wildlife lovers report to me that 2008 had reasonable rainfall so watering was not critical.
People expressed amazement at why this beautiful park needed to have so much shrubbery cut down to nothing. Again, these guys did it in small steps over months. If they had been assigned to simply clear brush, they would have done one area completely, and moved to another area. Not in tiny increments.
Instead, they chose to work around the park, taking just a little at a time. Anyone observing this operation would have wondered what was going on.
My personal belief is that it was a "payback" for bringing the bylaw to light which stopped, instantly, the dog attack problem.
[This story is about my personal take on this experience, and I cannot "prove" what I believe is the truth. It is posted for what it may be worth to readers.]