Monday, January 11, 2010

Ruminantions

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2010 at 8:24 AM

Some people claim to be animal people. Sure, their chihuahua and parakeet are cute, and they love them, but they pale in comparison to other's unbounded obsession with their pets. At an extreme, these people become pet collectors extraordinaire, the cat ladies, animal hoaders. You know the types. You've seen them on the news when the humane society and police show up to forcibly remove hundreds of animals. Once the live ones are gone, they begin to remove the dead ones. They find them in the garage, under boxes of tax records from 1987 and in the backyard behind bushes. Those are the extremist.

For every person that loves their animals to death, there are many more that love them to life.

Now according to the laws of the city, you are only supposed to have a few animals in or around your abode. You are allowed to have four dogs, four cats or a combination of both without obtaining a kennel license. You can have up to three chickens, as long as they are not roosters. All animals are supposed to have pet tags and be registered.

If you have an acre or more of property within the city limits, you can have two animal units. An animal unit is defined as one horse, mule, cow, llama, four sheep, four goats, four swine, 12 chickens, 12 ducks, six geese, or 10 rabbits. That's it, unless you have a waiver, are grandfathered with animals on the property, or fall under the 4H or FFA rules.

OK, now that we have the rules established, we can truthfully that most animal lovers break these rules. According to an unscientific search across the internet, about 80% of pets are unlicensed, and those are just the dogs and cats. In todays popular pet world, other animals such as chickens, pigs, hedgehogs and other pseudo wild animals qualify as loveable companions. Growing up we had a neighbor that loved her pet racoon. It was all cute and curious and fun, until it leapt onto your head from a high shelf in the kitchen just for kicks and scratched your face. As a child I had a pet squirrel I had raised from just a squirrelette but it was an outdoor pet until an owl decided it wanted a squirrel too one day. My mother gifted me a cherry headed conure that I despised. It was loud, obnoxious and mean. I hated that bird. When I learned that they live for many, many years, I quickly found a new home for it.

Chickens are becoming quite popular and within my own little world I'm aware of several folks who break the three chicken rule. But what about the four cat or dog policy? Again, I visit many households where this is broken too.

Now four Saint Bernards is dramatically different from four teacup poodles. And although you're not supposed to allow your cats to roam free, is an outdoor cat that comes home every couple of days considered one animal, or a half?

I'm only ruminating about this, much like a cow chews cud. I'd love a cow, a goat or something I could milk, but I live on much less than an acre and the neighbors might begin to get suspicious of a large hoofed animal on the property. You are also not supposed to have ostriches.

So when it comes to those folks who break these rules, the extreme animal lovers, realize they are all around us, hiding in their houses, pseudo hoarding their animals, breaking the rules and you don't find out about them until the carcasses begin to stink.

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