Having spent a career in animal control, I have frequently asked the question: “How did we become the dominant species.” I have witnessed so many of my species with the deleterious gene for stupidity. Part of my duties were to write ordinances because left to our own devices, we would put ourselves and other at risk.
I first encountered a liger at the Salt Lake City zoo. It was the only lion/tiger hybrid in existence. Shasta was a major draw for the Hogle Zoo. My next experience was in the backyard of a home in the Portland Oregon area. It appears that someone thought it would be profitable to breed and sell these animals without understanding that anyone who would want to put one of these in their backyard is probably too stupid to have the skills to keep the animal confined. A young girl was injured as a result of this act of stupidity.
Having worked for government organizations, I had to monitor my word selection. Retirement and old age has loosened my tongue to call it what it really is. Every time we performed a rewrite of our ordinances, we had to update the list of animals that were not safe to own in our jurisdiction. Why? You are right, stupidity. If we didn’t list every animal, someone would figure out that they could legally own it. And worse, there was someone out there that could provide it. It is amazing the number of dangerous animals that are shipped through our mail carriers.
I’ve seen videos of delivery drivers mishandling packages. Most people think that is horrible because something in the package could break; I worry that something in that package might get angry and burrow out of the package.
During the old drug trade, police officers would encounter verminous snakes. The snakes were a deterrent for the officer to search the cage for the drug dealer’s stash. Animal Control officer became the first line of defense at drug busts; either the dealer would sic their dog(s) on the officers, or some other creature protected the stash.
I witnessed more people keeping dangerous reptiles in Milwaukee, than I did while working in Florida. Fortunately, many of the exotic species did not hold up well during a Wisconsin winter.
It is surprising that more reptiles are not found loose. Most snake hoarders keep their animals in small plastic containers. The cruelty that is inflicted on these animals should be left for another rant.
I was watching the Tiger King on Netflix and I got all worked up again as I watched the show with these various breeders of big cats making a living off of the ignorant people of our species. Fortunately, municipalities have enacted laws prohibiting the keeping of wild animals because some people are not smart enough to figure out how dangerous it is to keep one as a pet.
At one point in the episode, I saw a map of the United States showing where these animals are kept (see above link). Florida had the most, and it looked like Wisconsin was second. If it had included other exotics, Wisconsin might have beat out Florida. Florida had the advantage of the Everglades being a short drive away so that idiots could release their pet python.
The only hope for Joe Exotic is the be granted the pardon that he has requested from President Trump. I hope that Trump has enough sense to keep the world safe and keep Joe Exotic behind bars; not for just the idiot humans who decide they want to own a big cat, but for the cats themselves for the mistreatment that they receive being kept in small cages.