Ohio, Just Don't
49 Dead in Ohio
All I can see is this picture in my mind with clashing music looping over and over. Through the rage, and the tears, I keep seeing the pictures in my mind of the people I know who live in Ohio and other states who own exotic animals. Responsible private owners who will be punitively affected by a ban law, even tho their animals have never escaped, never caused any problems, were not stolen from the wild, are well kept, well loved, healthy members of the Family. Sure, they may be considered an oddball Family, but aren't all of our Families a little different? a little oddball? A little maladjusted? A little dysfunctional? I know mine is, and really... I wouldn't want it any other way ...
These are the things I know for certain:
- Terry Thompson was a Vietnam Vet who was still struggling with his experience there.
- He lived a relatively solitary life. He and his recently-divorced wife considered the animals as part of the family, as their "furry children."
- He got in over his head, and had too many animals, and was having troubles caring for them all appropriately.
- He recently was released from prison on a weapons charge, for ownership of unregistered weapons.
- He was cited on neglect charges in April of 2005
- in January of 2011 Joe A Schreibvogel of GW Exotic Animal Memorial Park offered to help Terry and the County by taking the animals and was refused his assistance by Sheriff Matt Lutz.
- Feline Conservation Federation also offered to assist when Mr. Thompson was incarcerated, but was refused by the authorities.
- The authorities on the scene were not properly trained in management of frightened large exotics and were self-admittedly "nervous" as reported by on-the-scene reporters.
- Most of the animals were still on Mr. Thompson's private property.
Repeatedly people have shown the truth of HSUS' real agenda. (This article is a very good one by a member of the AVMA) HSUS is a radical animal rights organization with close ties to terrorist groups like PETA, ALF and ELF. But when it comes to animal welfare laws, it seems as if we just go knee jerk, and forget all we ever learned of critical thinking. We hear good ol' Wayne Pacelle decry the horror ! the tragedy! We need to ban all animal ownership (ooops! sorry, he means EXOTIC animal ownership, ALL animal ownership, that'll come later) to prevent this from ever happening again! But will it? After all, the ban that's being suggested is only against PRIVATE ownership. Zoos and Sanctuaries will be exempted. Even though over 80% of all the incidents of bites occur in Zoos or Sanctuaries. Private owners, as a general rule, know their animals' tolerances, and don't allow them to be pushed. Don't get me wrong, most Zoos and Sanctuaries are well run animal care facilities with passionate people who truly care for the welfare of their charges. Of course, these facilities also aren't the usual recipients of bite incidents.
So I suggest that we all grab tight hold of our common sense and THINK first before any of us-and any of our representatives- run off to pass new laws "to protect the animals". And furthermore, I offer the radical idea of enforcing the laws we currently have on the books regarding animal welfare, and the "laws of the land" such as "roaming at large". Make it across the board. Make it simple. All animals will be given adequate food, water, space to excersize, and size of containment according to their species' needs. Yes, factory farms will set up a hue and cry to this kind of radical simplistic common sense, and yes, this will probably affect the price of some animal food products, like meat and dairy. But isn't this really past due anyway? (Please click here for a very short explanation of "battery hens")
If our Country had had one solid piece of a law regarding animal welfare, this incident would have been taken care of last year and January before it got to this tipping point. What if all the Vietnam Vets had been offered intense help to readjust and re-assimilate into our society rather than ostracized? I wonder if Mr Thompson would have felt so alone if he had some kind of support group when he got home. What was Sheriff Lutz' reasoning to reject the two offers of help from reputable rescue organizations? If he had accepted their help, those animals wouldn't be dead today. Why are we listening to Wayne Pacelle? Tax the heck out of those scoundrels, and get them out of the lobbying business. Those 49 animals didn't have to die. But in the interest of justice, I pray that America doesn't wind up banning all responsible private owners from living their lives in the manner which they please, in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness all because one man, lost, lonely, sick at heart, made a terrible terrible choice.