Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Place on the Food Chain


I discovered something startling when I started working in Animal Control. Its a fact that I learned quickly, was surprised to discover, and that still baffles me to this day - 14 years later. If anything, its gotten WORSE over the years.

An amazing number of people are completely helpless.

People call me for things that I never, in my wildest imagination, would ever consider calling someone in city government to take care of. Its ridiculous. I've had people call me and complain that a squirrel is on their fence and keeps "looking" at them through the window of their house. People have called our office because birds pooped on their car in the parking lot at the mall. I drove all the way across town several years ago, on completely iced over roads, because a 250 lb man was cowering on top of a chair in his kitchen with a baseball bat - because there was a 3 inch long mediteranean gecko (like in the Geico commercials) in his house.

An incredible number of people are totally undeserving of their place at the top of the food chain.

This week, a message was left on our voicemail. Woman's voice:

"Hello... I need someone to call me ASAP. We have a serious problem here. Some kind of animal has escaped from the zoo and we think it might be poisonous.. We're at *********. Please, please hurry, 'cuz we need help now. Please call me at ********* . I don't know what this is but its very dangerous and we need help ASAP" (apparently she really likes that phrase).
I called her back and was able to calm her down enough to learn that it was a spider. Now normally we don't respond to insects. We're Animal Control, no Pest Control. However, she described it as HUGE and having "fangs the size of your finger".

Hmm..... I did see a news story the other day about the possiblilty of "camel spiders" stowing away in the baggage of returning servicemen. Those things can be nasty bastards. So, going against my better judgement, I drove to the ladies home.

This is what I found:


This is a Garden Spider. Completely harmless to people, and a beneficial eater of other pesky flying bugs. No finger-long fangs, no dangerous behavior, its not "HUGE". Yet, three fully grown women refused to open the door of the house and instead huddled behind their kitchen window watching the spider in horror.

Because of a bug, that any of them could have easily stepped on.

They refused to let me leave it under the eave of their house, and I knew if I did just leave it they would get someone else to spray it with pesticide or smash it. So, I scooped it up and moved it to a field nearby.

I'm thinking there will be a definite correlation between posts tagged with "idiots" and ones tagged with "Animal Control".

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