Guest Blogger Friday has become an unstoppable force in the universe. Today local art dealer Steve Argento chimes in with a word of caution if you're in the market for an exotic companion that isn't an Asian prostitute.
Lions, Tigers and Kinkajous .....Oh My!! Recently there has been some disturbing trends in the news regarding exotic pet ownership and the tragedy that can follow when not so stable people care for animals that are better served and cared for in a professional zoo setting.
Just a few weeks ago at a private game farm in Ohio, a man released dozens of dangerous, wild animals before he committed suicide. Police shot and killed the vast majority of the 56 animals, and the six survivors were taken to the Columbus Zoo to be cared for. To state the obvious, this was a shame. However, rather than debate the multiple and somewhat obvious reasons one should not own an exotic animal as a pet, lets delve into the real problem. Human beings aren’t that bright........ And here are a few examples of why people + exotic animals = disaster: Most people have heard the story of the Connecticut woman, Carla Nash, who was mauled by a chimpanzee a few years ago. The 57-year-old Nash was attacked in Stamford in February 2009 by a friend's 200-pound chimpanzee, which ripped off her nose, lips, eyelids and hands. In this case, the owner had a few red flags that keeping the animal as a family pet probably was not the smartest decision. The ape had a history of aggressive behavior and apparently was gobbling Xanax like tic-tacs in order to stay calm. Note to self: If you have to give your 200lb pet primate anti-depressants, youshould probably seek a psychiatrist yourself. Especially if you want to keep him as a pet in your suburban neighborhood home.
In 2005 in Little Falls, Minnesota a lion and tiger owned by auto mechanic Chuck Mock reportedly bolted from their cage and pounced on a 10-year-old boy. Since when does knowing the difference between a 305 Chevy and 302 Ford engine, make you think you can keep not one, but two big cats as pets? There is a reason they were given the name “Maneater” and it’s not because of their love for Hall and Oates. Once again, a tragic outcome. The child was seriously injured, and is now a quadriplegic and on a respirator.
Then there’s Paris Hilton’s infamous pet Kinkajou named Baby Luv. During a charity event in 2006, Paris tried to pose for a few pictures with the raccoon-like critter on her shoulder and the frightened animal, which is known for having incredibly sharp claws and harmful saliva, (the kinkajou not the heiress/pornstar) repeatedly scratched and bit Hilton. Days later, Baby Luv bit Paris so badly, that she was rushed to a hospital emergency room. Hilton gave Baby Luv the boot a short time after. So, apparently it took two attacks to convince this future Darwin Award winner that an exotic pet was not a smart idea.... Go figure.
Hilton family Gyno...It's a dirty job.
We’ve all toyed with the idea of how “cool’ it would be to own an exotic pet and I am no exception. I’ve owned a vicious 24 inch rat snake that was afraid of live mice, a bunny with gnashing teeth (a la Monty Python) and up till recently a Savannah cat named Lucy who thought she was a dog.
In my safe little world, I prefer to own pets that wont throw poo at me, gnaw on my skull like a chew-toy or rip my limbs off and beat me with them.
Call me crazy.
Steven Argento is a well-hung, local art dealer and owner of the Ramon Santiago Studio and SC Fine Arts. Follow him here on Twitter.