The blog of Chicago-based freelance writer David Johnsen.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Bastard of the Day
Today's award goes to the trigger-happy Chicago cops who killed a cougar in the Roscoe Village neighborhood last night. I'll bet those bastards fancy themselves as big game hunters now. Of course, taking down a cornered cougar with ten freaking shots isn't exactly expert marksmanship. Sorry, I just don't buy the excuse that it was ready to attack. That sounds like a story concocted to deflect public outrage. Too bad the cougar wasn't in my wife's district -- she certainly wouldn't have shot it (she probably would have fed it cat treats and brought it home!).

People are saying that the police couldn't have been expected to have tranquilizers, but that excuse doesn't hold water, either. The cougar was first reported in the morning. By 6 PM, when the big cat was killed, numerous police/animal care and control workers/game wardens/zoo workers/whatever should have been roaming the neighborhood with tranquilizer guns ready.

Somebody needs to control the squirrel and stray cat populations in this city -- not to mention the proliferation of yuppie toddlers -- and that cougar was just the one to do it.

UPDATE -- Before someone waves this in my face, let me note that just because experts say the killing was "justified" does not mean it was the ideal course of action or outcome.

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I was sort of expecting a small caliber, serial-numberless handgun to appear near the body.


While I doubt that the cat was ready to attack, they did the right thing. This kind of thing doesn't happen here, there is no army of tranquilizer gun yielding forestry agents to call upon.

"He/she/it was going to attack" is just their standard line, tacked on for extra coverage.

If they hadn't shot it and it mauled someone you'd be bitching even more.
I am wondering, where would they have taken it? Mountain lions aren't like coyotes; I'm pretty sure you can't just round one up, send it to a forest preserve in the suburbs, and call it a day.

I'd still like to know what a large, reclusive predator was doing in a densely populated area to begin with! I'm not going to run into one on the Midway, am I?

First, don't presume that I would complain about a mauling -- I wouldn't. Second, with Lincoln Park Zoo nearby and Brookfield Zoo only an hour away, surely some assistance could have been mustered throughout the day. There was already plenty of news coverage about the Wilmette sightings, so it isn't like this came out of the blue.

The third largest city in the U.S. should have an action plan on file for this situation -- they have plans in case of terrorist attacks, and a wild animal on the loose is obviously a more likely occurrence. What if a zoo animal escapes, or a large (albeit probably illegal) pet? Is the only solution to kill it? That's downright stupid from the perspective of public relations as well as public safety.

It would have to be transported a long distance, of course. For a one-time occurrence, it shouldn't be difficult for an animal rescue group to raise the funds, reaping great publicity in the process. A caged cougar awaiting a ride to the Rockies would be a much more TV-friendly image than a lifeless lump of feline flesh.

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