Thursday, October 20, 2011

Averting Carnage ?

Muskingham County Sheriff's deputies killed almost 50 "exotic" animals the other day near Zanesville, oh. It was a freak incident where the keeper, apparently mentally distraught/ill, released his menagerie & committed suicide.
While the animals posed a threat to humans they probably posed more of a threat to animals. In a small community with a lot of livestock floating around that's not a small issue. Still, it is a small community and people in smaller communities are better at pulling together in a time of emergency than larger communities. Seems people could have kept indoors and secured their pets and livestock for a short period while authorities took some time to capture the animals instead of just going head on massacring them as fast as possible. Columbus Zoo guy, Jack Hanna, said we would have had carnage otherwise. Looks like we did anyway. Zanesville could have easily drawn on animal control from Columbus, Dayton, Chillicothe, Cleveland, Akron & Youngstown. They could have had more professional help from the zoos of Cleveland, Akron, Columbus & Cincinnati. One deputy was being approached by a bear & then a lion. He had to defend himself. I get that. As the animals had been in captivity and around / dependent on humans for awhile, maybe they weren't attacking - but who the hell understands bear / lion body language in Ohio?
Meanwhile the legislation crowd is pouncing all over the opportunity to write more laws & rules.
Liberal Dennis Kucinich wants more laws. Wayne Pacelle of the radical HSUS wasted no time taking advantage of the bizarre situation. While Ohio voters elected a government dedicated to being smaller and less intrusive and to thwart HSUS involvement, WKRC viewers overwhelmingly stated they want more laws after this freak incident.
This was a strange event. The owner of the animals did what he could to maintain the animals. He had vets on call. He invested heavily in the animals. He appeared to be a strong individualist who enjoyed animals, perhaps because he saw the same trait in them. He had had complaints about his operation but that's typical. It was a BATF charge against him that landed him in jail for a year on gun charges. In that time his marriage fell apart, his wife divorcing him while in jail, and when he returned, found his animals had not been cared for as well as he would have liked. It's easy to see how the guy would be despondent and betrayed. When a person considers suicide, they aren't thinking properly. His releasing the animals was not a typical action and nothing that could be expected or legislated. Psychiatric tests for exotic animal owners? Pet owners?
One man's poor mental health should not have prompted the knee jerk reactions that prompted this massacre. The last thing we need now is knee jerk crafted legislation in the aftermath.


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Mark said...

Ohio and Texas lead the US in tiger and other dangerous animal sales. Under Ted Strickland, Ohio had weak regulations governing exotic animals but they were allowed to expire after the last election.

Some tiger dealers do seem to care about their animals but this guy clearly didn't. If he treated dogs the way he treated his product, he would have arrested long before this could have happened.

I own animals that can be classified as exotic but are not dangerous to humans or the environment. I don't think anyone who was aware of the situation is either surprised that this happened or would defend his business even before his meltdown.

SecondComingOfBast said...


I've heard that same reasoning, but I have to wonder, if the guy was really as bad as he's being portrayed, why wasn't his license revoked and his animals confiscated? This story doesn't pass the smell test. If he mistreated the animals, as has been alleged, then this should have been resolved years ago. Somebody had it in for this guy, and I'm wondering who was responsible for his animals while he was imprisoned. Nothing about this story ads up.

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