August 07, 2003

A Bad News Week For Pets

Readers, beware! If you own pets, their lives may be in jeopardy from some of the most unlikliest of places.

If you own small dogs, you had best keep your eyes on the skies for hawks with a hankering for canine, and if you own kittens, you had best be wary of unscrupulous snake owners itching to feed their slithering serpents a little feline cuisine.

Yes, it's time, once again, because I have no idea what else to write about, to bring you big and important news items that weren't deemed big and important by big and important media outlets. This big and important columnist, however, deems otherwise.

Imagine, if you will: you're walking your chihuahua, perhaps named Manuel, through a New York City public park on a glorious summer morning. Manuel is enjoying the outing, when suddenly you catch movement from the corner of your eye, and your eardrums are pierced by the screech of a hawk in mid-hunt. In a flurry of feathers and yipping chihuahua, you realize your furry companion is being attacked. Sound impossible? In New York, nothing's impossible.

According to an August 7 report out of New York, officials on Wednesday grounded an anti-pigeon campaign employing the winged predators after one of the birds attacked a Chihuahua in Bryant Park.

Now, I understand that pigeons can be a problem, particularly in a sprawling metropolis such as New York. But, I'm just not sure whether the problem warrants an anti-pigeon campaign that employs specially trained hawks. Rather, I think it would be far more effective if, say, the city were to train a pack of particularly tough, and swift, chihuahuas to take care of the city's pigeon problem. That way, you don't have to worry about chihuahuas being attacked by hawks, and you're still on top of the pigeon problem. Plus, it would just be super cool to see a chihuahua take down a pigeon. How cute would that be!?

The program, considered a success since its April launch, was suspended Wednesday afternoon. Biederman said a final decision was expected by the end of the week on firing or rehiring the hawks, although city Parks Department officials called for its end.

Firing or rehiring hawks? What kind of severance package do they get? Do they have their own union to protect themselves from unfair city salary actions? I think somebody should be looking into this more closely. Would somebody PLEASE think of the hawks here!

Ah, but let us now leave New York and travel overseas to Norway, a country that just doesn't get mentioned much in the news nowadays. So, when they do get mentioned, you know it has to be something big and important, and probably involves snakes and kittens.

According to an August 6 Reuters news item out of Oslo, a reptile expert said on Wednesday that cat owners, who hoped kittens they had to give away would go to a good home, were outraged to find that some were ending up as dinner for pythons and other snakes kept illegally as pets.

I should note here that I don't really understand the appeal of keeping a snake as a pet. Quite frankly, it creeps me out just a little bit, and here's why: snakes don't DO anything. They don't fetch. They don't respond with affection when you scratch them behind their ears. . . er, ear holes.

They just lay around, flicking out their tongues, waiting to be fed. And that's the problem as I see it. Snake owners like owning snakes primarily for the novelty of watching them eat. They have a morbid fascination with watching a snake unhinge its jaws, swallow a mouse, and then watching a mouse-shaped bolus slide down inside their pet's cylindrical body. I mean, ewwwwww.

"Some people get a kick out of seeing a kitten being eaten alive by a snake," biologist Kees Ekeli, director of the Bergen Aquarium in western Norway, told Reuters. "It's cheap and it's a good size for a medium-sized snake. It's heart-breaking for the people who have feelings for their kittens."

Gee, do you think?

But, you know, that raises an interesting moral issue. Why is it more okay to feed snakes mice and rats, but kittens are considered taboo? Discuss. I'll be here when you get back.

In the meantime, I'm going to go out and buy a chihuahua and teach it to hunt pigeons, because, you know, that would be so cute! So is Amanda Wenk. Amanda Wenk has HUGE tracts of land. Here's Amanda Wenk.

Also, I think Giselle is hot. So is a Brianna. And here Brianna . Hey, Huh, Brianna again. Amanda.

Posted by Ryan at August 7, 2003 12:02 PM
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