My neighbor kills squirrels and I don’t like it.

My next-door neighbors are really nice people and we get along wonderfully. They watch our dog when we go away; we get their mail when they go away, and I have even borrowed a cup of sugar from them before! Here is the problem: there are a lot of squirrels in our neighborhood, and I recently discovered that the guy is trapping them and killing them. I understand his frustration because he has a pecan tree so the squirrels love it, and then they end up sticking around and chewing on his house. They are definitely a little out of control in his yard, but I just don’t feel right about him killing innocent animals.

I want to continue to get along with my neighbors but I also want to protect the squirrels. How can I get him to stop killing them while maintaining our cordial relationship?

My first thought when I read this was, Good for him! Obliterate the little f-ers!

I live in a neighborhood where the squirrels have basically taken over. They’re mangy, disgruntled, aggressive, and I think one made a gang sign at me once. I have to scurry to my car in the morning and not make eye contact because I’m afraid they’ll attack me and I’ll end up with my eyes clawed out and my hair all messy, a la Tippy Hedren.

But I also (begrudgingly) share your affection for all of God’s creatures, although I think if He knew the situation He would sign off on one free pass to kill those hideous beasts. To get your neighbor on your side, you’re going to have to tread lightly. If you’re like, “Don’t kill the squirrels, think of the babies with no mommies, think of the life partner squirrels who now have to live out their days alone and depressed,” he’s going to get defensive and probably not only ignore your request, but hate you. People don’t like to be told they’re mean. Instead, get some humane traps and show him how well they work, or ask him if he wants to go in on an expert with you and see if you can get an official pest control person to come to your houses and offer some alternatives.

If he just says no, thank you, I really just want to keep murdering them, you’re going to have to make a choice: would you rather protect the squirrels or get along with your neighbor?

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