I’ve always had a healthy respect for Kathleen– the woman living in the apartment directly above me. In most respects she is an ideal neighbor. While we aren’t exactly the closest of friends, when we do run into each other we usually have a pleasant conversation about what is new and exciting in our lives. She even accepted my invitation to watch the game at my last Super Bowl party. Always concerned about making too much noise, she even asked me once if running her dishwasher after 10 PM was going to be too loud for me. Despite all this, I can’t seem to shake the notion that Kathleen spends her free time raising marsupials.
Even though my knowledge of biology is limited to reading National Geographic stories while sitting in the dentist’s office waiting room, I am almost positive that kangaroos are not indigenous to the state of Colorado. Sometimes after Kathleen leaves for work in the morning I hear the unmistakable sound of rhythmic thumping from her apartment that could only be produced by small mammals hopping around. At first I just chalked it up to my overactive imagination. All that changed a few weeks ago on a warm summer night when I was sitting out on my patio waiting for a friend to come over. Kathleen’s patio door must have been open because I couldn’t help but to hear what she was saying. In a playful baby voice she kept saying, “Who is my favorite kangaroo? You are-yes you are!” The last trace of doubt was removed when she replaced her old regular license plates on her car with a customized set with the letters “LVN ROOS”.
While I like to think of myself as a fairly liberal individual who doesn’t like to poke my nose into other people’s business, I just can’t sleep well at night knowing what is going on in Kathleen’s apartment. What could I do if the kangaroo in question gets bigger and crashes through the floor into my living room when I’m sitting on my couch? My apartment is messy enough as it is without the ceiling caving in and kangaroos hopping about wildly out of control. And that doesn’t even address the issue of my damage deposit.
Fortunately, the city of Boulder passed an ordinance to protect not only myself, but the countless other individuals in the area who live their lives in constant fear of exotic animal related mishaps. The Boulder City Council recently passed legislation that will help get all of the kangaroos out of the city once and for all. In addition to the aforementioned marsupials, the law also forbids individuals from owning bears, skunks, weasels, otters, badgers, venomous reptiles, raccoons, elephants, seals, sea lions, hyenas, anteaters, sloths, armadillos, mongooses, hippopotami, rhinoceri, giraffes, camels, zebras, monkeys, chimpanzees, alligators, and crocodiles.
It’s about time that the City Council members climbed down from their ivory tower and created legislation that helps out the regular Janes and Joes of the world. Just the other day I was watching some children playing on the large bronze animals in the center of the Pearl Street Mall when a hungry pack of hyenas came along and… well, lets just say it was not a pleasant situation. The owner of the hyenas didn’t realize the animals had chewed through the six foot high electrified barb wired fence until after the damage was done. And you really can’t fault the hyenas- their instincts tell them to gather in packs and chase down the slowest mammals in the immediate area. The parents of the mauled children and most of the witnesses came to the conclusion that despite the extensive effort made to contain these animals, the owner of the hyenas was largely to blame. Without any exotic pet ordinance to back them up, the police officer at the scene could only give the owner a fifty dollar fine for violating the city leash law.
Exotic animal maulings frequently go unreported in city of Boulder. Newspapers only have so much space to report the news each day. While the reports regarding the JonBenet Ramsey murder have slowed to a trickle, the reports detailing the mistakes made during the investigation keep flowing into the papers. And of course the public needs to know about the reports of people who are upset about people who criticized anything involving the investigation. Given the need for perpetual coverage of this still unresolved situation, the true cost of exotic animal ownership may never be known.