Contrary to what Tucson parents might tell their kids, unwanted goldfish flushed down the toilet don’t end up merrily swimming round Reid Park’s duck pond and small animals let loose in a midtown neighborhood do not live happily ever after.
They are lucky to live at all.
The most recent case of an abandoned pet left to fend for itself was a plump, handsome lizard that somehow ended up in my yard. While he tried his best to blend in with all the wild lizards leaping around the scene, something about him was different.
For starters, he became up trapped in a piece of plastic grass netting that all wild lizards innately avoid. While I was gingerly cutting the rotund reptile out of his trap with a pair of snips, I got a closer look at the beast and realized he was trapped because of the spikes encircling his neck.
The thing was a bearded dragon, promptly nicknamed Trappy, and not the usual sleek, slinky lizard skittering from the sprinkler or doing push-ups on the cinderblock fence. Once Trappy was set free, he didn’t scamper behind the mesquite like all the wild lizards do but rather sat and stared at me for some time before lumbering off into the distance.
Anyone who thinks only jerks drive around in Hummers is right on at least one count, with the case of a Hummer driver who purposely ran over and killed four ducklings in a Michigan McDonald’s parking lot.
That story and more are up this week on Rynski’s Shattered Reality radio show on Party934.com and FM 94.9 in Hudson Valley, N.Y.
Next show is Wednesday, May 4 (today!) and every Wednesday online at Party934.com. Showtime is noon in Arizona, 3 p.m. EST.
Party 934 is a radio alternative for listeners sick of stations that play one song followed by 500 commercials.
In honor of spring being in full blossom, this week’s theme is songs that mention trees, weeds, flowers and other foliage.
As if a headless javelina found hanging from a tree and a duct taped coyote discarded not far from the border weren’t enough evidence of some fine folks in parts of Arizona, we think we found one that is.
Nine mule deer does and fawns were found slaughtered in the Bonita area north of Willcox, according to a news release from the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Game and Fish surmise the killings took place somewhere between Dec. 3 and 8.
The dead does and fawns were so badly mangled that officials could not determine how they had been killed. The best guess is they were either run over by a vehicle or shot, either way left to rot in a field full of chilies.
Lorenzo the parrot – yes, parrot – was recently busted just for following orders.
Too bad his orders were to alert Columbian drug cartel members that police were lurking nearby, AP reports.
“Run, run, you are going to get caught,” is the catch phrase Lorenzo was trained to squawk in Spanish. And squawk he did when authorities moved in during an undercover drug raid last week on the cartel’s turf in Barranquilla.
Despite Lorenzo’s warning, authorities managed to seize “a large quantity” of marijuana, 200 weapons, and a stolen motorcycle. Police also made four arrests, perhaps from those too bird-brained to heed Lorenzo’s alert.
Oh, authorities also seized poor Lorenzo, along with 1,700 other birds who were also trained as lookouts for drug traffickers.
For the record, “environmental authorities” now have the birds.
Does training animals to abet in illegal activities constitute animal cruelty or abuse?
On the other side of the ring, so to speak, we have the U.S. Customs and Border Protection canines trained to sniff out narcotics.
The canine program officially began on April Fools Day 1970, the CBP website says, just when the futile “drug war” kicked off to counter the “make love, do drugs” stuff of the 1960s.
A German shepherd named Albert sniffed out the first drug dog bust, alerting on a car’s door panel that concealed five pounds of marijuana.
Compare this to the overall haul for fiscal year 2009, when drug dogs sniffed out more than 670,000 pounds of marijuana along with some 26,000 pounds of cocaine, more than 1,000 pounds of heroin, nearly 3 million pills and $34 million in undeclared cash.
The canine program last year alone trained 128 detection canines, trained to sniff out drugs, concealed humans, money and firearms. Don’t forget those specially trained to detect prohibited agricultural products and meats, dead bodies and those used in search and rescue operations.
But the dogs, and authorities, are certainly kept busy as parrots are not the only critters recruited into the drug trade.
Two monkeys in Bangladesh, named Munni and Hamid, were confiscated from a drug house when authorities learned they had been trained to sell drugs to addicts who showed up needing their fix of a narcotic syrup called phensidyl. The addicts would hand the money to Munni while Hamid would retrieve the little bottles of the syrup from their hiding places on the roof, beneath the bed or wherever else they were stashed around the home.
Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who likes drug sniffing dogs better than squawking parrots. Her column usually appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski, but the Friday, Sept. 24 entry will feature a special report instead. Her art, writing and more is at RynRules.com and Rynski.Etsy.com. E-mail email@example.com.