An Alabama man best known for allegations that he kept a squirrel hopped up on meth has been arrested ― but not because of the squirrel.
Mickey Paulk, 35, was arrested Thursday on drug and firearm charges, NBC News reported. The arrest came after he allegedly fled on a stolen motorcycle, which he’s accused of ramming into an investigator’s vehicle. Paulk had been wanted by law enforcement since mid-June, when Limestone County sheriff’s deputies said they seized meth, drug paraphernalia and ammunition from his apartment.
The reason Paulk’s case made national news, however, was because of something else deputies seized from the residence ― a squirrel authorities alleged Paulk had been feeding meth in order to transform the fluffy-tailed creature into an “attack squirrel.”
However, lacking a meth test designed with squirrels in mind, officials simply released the animal back into the woods without determining if it actually had the substance in its system. (It’s also illegal in Alabama to keep a squirrel as a pet.)
However, Paulk staunchly denied the deputies’ characterization of the squirrel, saying they totally fabricated the story.
“You can’t give squirrels meth; it would kill them,” said Paulk in a video he posted while still on the lam ― adding that he had never actually tried administering meth to a squirrel.
He told The Washington Post that the squirrel, named Deeznutz, is a beloved pet he raised and bottle-fed.
In the Facebook video, Paulk strokes a squirrel he says is the same one seized by police. He told the Post that when he heard about police seizing Deeznuts, he went to the area where the squirrel had been released and was able to find his pet in a nearby tree.
“Once he saw it was me, he came on down,” Paulk said. “He jumped on my arm, and we got in the car and left.” He also told the Post that the drug and firearm charges against him were “bogus.”
The sheriff’s department was somewhat skeptical of Paulk’s account that he had reunited with the same squirrel.
“We don’t know if he might even have two squirrels,” sheriff’s spokesman Stephen Young told The Associated Press.
Young told HuffPost that based on a GoFundMe page he had seen, Paulk “may have rehomed the squirrel in Tennessee.”
This story has been updated with comment from Stephen Young.