Monday, October 24, 2011

Why shoot to kill, not save?

“Pet – an animal kept for amusement or companionship.” Such as a lion, for instance? How about a Bengal tiger? Or a grizzly bear, mountain lion or baboon?

If these animals seem like strange choices for pets, tell it to the people in Ohio (and other states) who collect them. Invariably, in being removed from their natural habitats and living in someone’s back 40 or basement (yes, it happens) or garage, they’re mistreated, exploited, abused. They’re “exotic” animals – that is, “from another part of the world; foreign.”

Such creatures are not pets, but exotic wild animals who don’t belong in Ohio – or in much or all of the US either.

Years ago, an offbeat garden and gift shop on Olden Ave., Ewing included among the interesting things there an iguana. This unfortunate tropical creature, who had been named, lived in a glass aquarium near a window. The owners claimed he (I think) was kept warm enough and was well fed.

In reality, he was another exotic animal who should not have been there, isolated and solitary, not free, not living at all naturally.

Back to last week’s Ohio horror, wherein nearly 50 exotic animals were shot to death by law enforcement officials. The questions keep coming.

First, why don’t police types carry tranquilizer darts or have them readily at hand, especially when large wild animals are the reason for their being called? (Not long ago in NJ, a bear cub was shot to death and then too the claim was law enforcement reps didn’t have tranquilizer darts. Why not?!)

And next, what other options were considered besides the panicky-sounding result: shoot to kill? In an area where the “owner” of these animals was known to be trouble, why weren’t tranquilizer darts standard equipment?


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