Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cat's In The Cradle

Except it wasn’t in a cradle, a cage or its natural habitat. It was in an alley in a residential neighborhood.

You know I love animals. I really do. I’ve adopted and given homes to many animals throughout my life and it breaks my heart to see all those animals who need loving homes in adoption shelters. I wish I could take them all.

When I see lost dogs in my neighborhood, I stop and try to reunite them with their family. When I see a baby bunny nest dug up from an animal, I try my best to find it and put them back.

Ok, I wasn’t happy about the huge snarling raccoon that was living in my bushes, but I didn’t harm it or try to poison it or anything else because I never felt that it posed any risk to me, my family or any of my neighbors. If it did, that would have been another story.

On Monday evening, Chicago police officers shot and killed a 150 pound COUGAR that was roaming the streets in a neighborhood of Chicago known as Roscoe Village, which is relatively close to Chicago’s Wrigley Field and oh, I’d say 10 or so miles, give or take a few, from the downtown area. The city has not stopped buzzing about it since.

Animal rights activists are in an uproar and the police are defending their actions.

From what I understand, this is only the second reported sighting of a cougar in Illinois in something like forever, or at least since someone has been keeping track of this information. Needless to say, cougars, at least the feline kind, are not readily found on the streets of Chicago. There’s probably not a whole lot of police policy for “encountering a cougar” in the Chicago police manuals. These are what you call, unusual circumstances.

Police did locate the cat in an alley in a residential area. Officers began getting on the PA systems ordering everyone to stay inside their homes. The animal was a block away from an elementary school and was fired upon when, within it's leaping capabilities, it charged an officer.

I wasn’t there, but it sounds like it was a split second decision to start shooting when a police officer felt he had no other choice. Understandable, in my opinion, when a 150 lb. cougar is within leaping distance.

I’m assuming that there was just no time to wait for Animal Control to arrive. I don’t know, I wasn’t there.

I’m guessing neither were any of these outraged animal rights activists or maybe they could have done something differently.

Regardless, the debate over this issue is taking over the TV and radio airwaves and as an animal lover, it’s very sad to see an animal shot like that, but come on, people. The safety of humans has to come first.

Why wasn’t it tranquilized? Well, probably because police don’t carry animal tranquilizer guns. Where was Animal Control? I don’t know, but even if they were around the corner, if a 150 lb. cougar is charging an officer, I don’t think we should expect the officer to wait for them to arrive.

Why didn’t the officer taser the cougar? What happens when you taser a cougar? Maybe it would just anger it and then what? I don’t know. I would wager a bet that the Chicago Police Officer probably had no idea either and if he felt his life and the safety of others was in immediate danger, I would hope he wouldn’t take the time to stop and think about it.

My point is that there is not a whole lot of time to decide these things when they happen.

If police had waited and the animal killed or injured someone, they’d be criticized for not shooting it if they had the chance.

Yes, it’s an unfortunate situation. The animal was completely out of its natural surroundings and no one wants to see an animal shot like that. My opinion is that this could have resulted in the loss of human lives and the officers did what they thought was necessary in that split second.

It’s time to move on.


Jessica Morris said...

I must live in a bubble as I haven't heard this story, but I agree with you!! It's sad the cougar died, but how much more tragic would it be for a human life to be killed in place of the cougar?!

pjazzypar said...

This is sad. I hate to see an animal put down, but in the interest of safety what else could have been done?

Harlekwin said...

I live in a state where cougars are so common they're appearing in backyards to dine on the family Jack Russell Terrier. They are considered vermin here. Isn't that a sad thing to say, that an animal as beautiful as a cougar is considered vermin?

Likely, the cat the police encountered was an exotic pet. I can't imagine a cougar actually surviving long enough in the wilds of Chicago to get to the place this one did.

Officers do what they're trained to do... Serve and Protect. They were doing their job in a situation that was extremely unusual.

Oh, Hi! Funny what brings some people out from behind their Google Reader, isn't it?

Crystal said...

I'm a huge animal lover too, but you better believe I'd shoot to kill if my life or the life of another person was in danger because of one.

That's one thing I can't stand about some animal rights activists... it seems they value the life of the animal more so than the life of humans. That's insanity.

Julia Smith said...

It's very unfortunate that the cougar was in Chicago (more than likely as Harlekwin said, an exotic pet.) Cougars are built to take down large game. There's no time to do much if charged by a cougar. The real crime is the person who raised it in a city centre in the first place.

Dustin said...

Ok...I know I'm sick...but I can't stop thinking about the question "What happens when you taser a cougar?"

At 150 lbs, I imagine it would be similar to hitting a 150 pound person with a taser...BUT...

More what's stuck in my head is an image of electrified burned fur and Lisa Kudrow singing "Smelly Cat, Smelly Cat..."

The Rock Chick said...

jessica: thank you. there are sane people left in the world!

pjazzy: exactly! its not like theres time to second guess decisions like that.

harlekwin: no, they determined it was a wild animal. I have no idea where you'd even find a wild cougar anywhere near Chicago so I don't know how far it traveled. Where have you been? I keep checking your blog.......

julia: I was really thinking it had to be a pet, too, but they are saying no....

dustin: I love Friends! The hubby and I watch rerun after rerun and I never tire of it. Poor Smelly Cougar!