Animal murders in the news
A rabbit confiscated by the Tigard Police from the rabbit-hoarding "Bunny Lady" /
This isn’t a happy blog post, but have you noticed a lot of stories in the news lately about animal killings? First there was the serial cat killer in Miami, Florida. People’s beloved cats were disappearing. When they showed up, they were grossly mutilated. Since May 13th, 19 cats have turned up this way, and 14 more were being investigated by police. Some of the cats were skinned, others posed in various positions. According to a CNN news article, Miami-Dade County police spokesman Bobby Williams said anyone capable of torturing animals in this way is "is disturbed at some sort of level.” A reward of $10,000 was being offered for information leading to the person’s arrest. On June 14th, police finally arrested a suspect – a teenage boy.
Earlier I’d read about the brutal murder of a dog owned by Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell in Texas in April. Luttrell had heard a shot fired, and saw four teenage punks cruising the neighborhood apparently looking for dogs to kill. Incensed by the murder of his beloved dog Dasy, Luttrell chased the criminals through four counties, and with help from the local sheriff’s department caught them. They continued to laugh and joke about their crime even after they were apprehended. Luttrell appeared on Glenn Beck’s Fox TV program, urging the Texas courts to prosecute the criminals to the fullest extent of the law.
Then just yesterday I heard of the murder of two critically endangered monk seals in Hawaii - a pregnant female and a male, a month apart. The female was shot in May, while the male was killed a month earlier. The pregnant female had previously given birth to 5 pups in previous years. Each offense could bring a fine of up to $50,000 and/or a year in jail. Mourners gathered on Kuaui’s Po'ipu Beach Park on June 18th to commemorate the dead seals and release their ashes.
I just don’t get what makes people kill animals for no apparent reason. I find this terribly sad especially given the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) new study on animals and pain that says, “all vertebrates should be considered capable of experiencing the aversive state of pain,” and hence alleviating animal pain in research is an ethical and moral imperative. We pretty much already knew that for mammals, but the NAS report has implications for scientific research on all vertebrates.
Then I heard about the Oregon Bunny Lady. She was obsessed with rabbits to say the least. She hoarded rabbits in her home, and in 2006, police had found 250 rabbits in her house including 100 dead bunnies in her fridge and freezer. As a result the courts ordered her to not go within 100 yards of a rabbit (I have to laugh at the way that sounds – a rabbit restraining order!). Apparently, she didn’t listen. After finding her in a hotel with 13 rabbits, including one dead one, she was arrested.
On the other hand, on the excessive coverage given to President Obama killing a fly? A bit much don't you think? It did give a great opportunity for media to use some humor, but Obama’s Jedi move received more attention than the content of what he actually said in that meeting. And then PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) condemned his fly-killing. If the organization wants respect for their work raising awareness of animal rights issues, isn’t that response to the killing of a fly a wee bit over the top?