Minnesota wildlife authorities appear to have solved a rash of animal cruelty directed at squirrels in the St. Cloud area.
Earlier this month, it was reported that someone was darting — i.e., shooting darts at — animals in the area of Kilian Boulevard Southeast between Lincoln Depot and Munsinger Gardens.
The shot animals were "left to wander" with their injuries, often with the darts sticking out of their bodies.
On Thursday, Central Minnesota Wildlife Rehabilitation (CMWR), which has been documenting the case on social media while caring for two of the wounded squirrels, announced that "the person darting squirrels has been charged," per a "DNR enforcement officer."
It's not clear how the person was caught or who they are, though a Friday update from CMWR specifies that the suspect is an adult. Though the culprit may have been stopped, the organization is still asking people to keep an eye out for any other animals they may have hurt and to contact Minnesota's poaching tip line at 800-652-9093.
Aside from the capture of a suspect, there is some good news about the animals themselves. CMWR says the two wounded squirrels they've been taking care of "should be ready for release soon."
The following Facebook update shows the progress the squirrels — who have been named Dodger and Fagan — have made:
If convicted of the crimes, the suspect in this case could face up to a year in jail and thousands of dollars in fines, or both, according to state animal cruelty laws.
BringMeTheNews has reached out to the DNR regarding the criminal charges.