Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lock Those Doors

I'm rather obsessive about closing all the doors and windows at night, and surely this vindicates me:

A mountain lion crept through an open door into a house outside Denver, snatched a Labrador retriever from a bedroom where two people were sleeping and left the dog's dead body outside, wildlife managers said Tuesday.

No one else was hurt in the home about 14 miles southwest of Denver.

Wildlife officials later trapped the 130-pound male cat using the dog's body as bait and fatally shot it.

Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman Tyler Baskfield said the cat entered the house through open French doors early Monday and fled with the Labrador after the owners woke up.

"The people got up and looked around and saw the mountain lion's tail leaving the house," Baskfield said.
Is it just me, or is using the dead dog as bait a little callous? Granted, it's not quite to the level of salvaging the gold from the teeth of Holocaust victims, but it does have that same "oh well, might as well get some good out of it" quality to it, or so it seems to me. Did they sell its carcass to a local meat processing plant after its use as cougar bait? Turn its skin to dog-leather moccasins? Have its head stuffed, mounted, and sold on eBay? Part it out to the dog organ transplant trade?

Also -- and again, maybe it's just me -- but does shooting the cougar really accomplish anything? The first cougar to be drawn to the dead dog bait was killed. It may or may not be the same cougar the people saw leaving the house (and let's all take notice of the fact that the cougar did politely exit the house after it had accomplished its business). Even if it is the same cougar, should cougars be gunned down for hunting?

The theory, I gather, is that this particular cougar has demonstrated a fearlessness toward human settings, and therefore unless it is killed, neither dog nor man can sleep safely in the area. But is this behavior truly atypical of cougars? Are there "good" cougars routinely loath to pass through french doors, a distinguished from "wayward" cougars willing to pursue prey without regard to property boundaries?

I'm honestly not sure. But I know I'll be closing the doors at night.

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