Mother who let a TIGER, a fox, a cougar, monkeys and a skunk roam around her Texas home is charged with endangering her daughter, 14 is a news story that both amuses and alarms me. My parents let me keep a huge number of wild animals who actually lived in the house with me. No one arrested anyone over this but then, we lived outside of any cities, out in the wild countryside…
List of my pets that weren’t all my dogs, cats or horses, starting with my first ones: Spotty, the Rocky Mountain skunk who was left under my bed by my cat, Door Kitty.
Boy Goose who followed me everywhere when I was less than 5 years old.
Then along came Bob the Cat (note how a child doesn’t do complicated names) who was put under my bed by my cat, Snowball (OK, her name was slightly more complicated):
He became the spokescat for the Desert Museum in Tucson after he tore up my mother’s new living room curtains while I was playing with him inside the house.
My pet alligator left the house one night when someone left the sliding glass door open and died in the pool due to the freezing cold night, poor baby. My mother said no more alligators.
Then when I was a teenager, this Gila Monster moved in with us. My mother made us turn him loose again. Highly poisonous but he never bit me, insane as this is.
I had four roadrunners who followed me around all this time, ate out of my hands, went to my bus stop with me and slept on the roof above my bedroom window at night.
Then there was my pet crow who fell out of his nest when a baby and which lived with us for quite a while. Smart bird.
Those of us who live with many animals, and I have had sheep, goats, horses, oxen, dogs, many cats, chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks etc. etc. easily tame and live with wild animals, too. It comes naturally. Easy as anything, once you can figure out one critter, the rest comes along pretty easily.
But keeping wild animals should be discouraged. I had to give up all my wild animals, mostly I rehabilitated them so they could live in the wild and looked after them when they left, but Bob the Cat didn’t have that, he went to the Desert Museum to be their spokes-kitty because he would have been shot in the wild, being unafraid of hunters.
Spotty the Skunk went there, too. Since she was hand-tamed from near birth, it was safer for her. People who collect wild pets today mostly buy them from dealers who keep former wild animals in cages and breed them. I am totally against this.
All my wild friends came to me via happenstance, except for the alligator, yes, I fell for that one and learned a hard lesson from it. Otherwise, they were all wild animals I kept when they were babies and doomed to death and gave them all life and then did the right thing with them.
Wild animals are not safe pets and it is like taking in pit bull dogs: you never know when they will decide to kill someone. And it is simply cruel to keep them penned up. There are plenty of domestic animals who are interesting and safer.
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