Beast 1, Man, 0: Tenn. Policeman Fired After Pepper Spraying a Squirrel

Was the squirrel that much of a threat?

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Squirrel peeping from behind a tree

A Tennessee cop was in the wrong place at the wrong time and ran into the wrong squirrel last week, and after a man vs. beast test of wills the creature survived, but the officer lost his job.

Officer Jody Putnam was inside a Dollar General store in Mountain City, a small Appalachian town not far from the North Carolina border, when employees noticed the animal milling about the store. It’s not clear if the squirrel was robbing the place or if this is a case of rodent profiling, but Putnam reportedly fired his weapon at it, WJHL-TV reported.

The wily squirrel was apparently too cunning to let a service revolver take him down, so Putnam took out pepper spray which caused the predictably adverse reaction among people who are exposed to its ingredients in an enclosed space like a small store.

“There was a lot of people that come out and just like me they came out and they were coughing and a hacking it was comical,” said store owner Carl Duffield, “but I’m sure they didn’t feel that way, the customers that came out.”

Here’s where it gets technical: Mountain City officers are required to file paperwork on it and report it to their supervisors. Putnam, by refusing to follow such procedure, violated department policy and was fired by town officials.

No word on the whereabouts of the squirrel or whether or not there will be a second round between these two bloodthirsty enemies.