A cell phone video showing a police officer spraying a baby squirrel with pepper spray has sparked outrage after it was recently posted on YouTube.
The video was recorded by a student at Kimbrough Middle School in Mesquite, Texas, according to Fox 5 New York. In it, students are heard pleading for the officer to stop, shouting things like "Don't spray him!"
After a rally of cries as the officer uses the pepper spray on the squirrel, the animal is seen writhing around on the ground.
Mesquite Police Department has defended the officer's actions.
Sgt. Wes Talley said the officer stood between a group of students and the animal because he thought it may have been rabid.
Talley said after several unsuccessful attempts to scare the squirrel away, the officer used his pepper spray on it to protect the welfare of the students.
Following the incident, animal control officers reportedly cared for the squirrel at a shelter before releasing it back into the wild.