Saturday, October 10, 2009

No rest in peace

From our bicycles we can see up ahead on the road a dead . . . something. There’s no avoiding it, and we can’t even look in a different direction to miss seeing it, as a car passenger can do.

Now it’s clear: a dead squirrel, with only its fluffy tail unbloodied. The little head and face are very sad to see. No doubt a car traveling fast and/or in the dark v. a small squirrel. We’ve seen a number of frolicking babies lately – maybe squirrels have more than one litter/brood/family a summer – most of them seeming to love playing in the street.

This is too, too bad, and there’s nothing to be done except notify the animal control officer in town. Then she or a colleague usually picks up the body. Then, at least, the poor dead thing doesn’t get more ‘hurt’ by being driven over and decomposing in public.

Question: what does the animal control officer do with the bodies so collected? Are they buried? cremated? Are they treated with respect, which is my reason for reporting them on the road and assuming they’ll be well treated in death.

I don’t know, though. When I tried to find out what happens with animal bodies picked up on or near roads, at least in Lawrence Twp., I couldn’t. The animal control officer (ACO) was surprisingly evasive, seemingly secretive -- first saying her supervisor would have to decide if she could tell me, then saying that person was on vacation, then saying the township administrator would have to decide, and finally never getting back to me when promised with an answer either way.

Strange. And of course, her evasions only gave me more reason to wonder whether she’s hiding anything. What could have been a simple question and answer -- last summer! -- turned into a long campaign of phoning the ACO and getting a new excuse and/or not getting a return call; phoning the ACO, etc., etc.

What could have been a blog post positively citing the township’s ACO for compassionate treatment of animals killed on our roads . . . remains a question left unanswered. The situation is suspicious, at best.

(Note on 10-13-09: Since this post was published, Lawrence's ACO and I have talked. Look for specifics in answer to the questions raised here, as well as an overview of the ACO's job, in a November post. )

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