Off the Press
December 4, 2012
By Kathleen R. Merrill
Use common sense to keep all critters safe
It’s been an interesting and somewhat sad year regarding local wildlife.
Interesting because of some of the new critters I’ve seen at home. Sad because of several deaths in the area.
My heart continues to ache for the 15-year-old golden retriever that was killed by a cougar in the Riverbend area of North Bend in September. What a horrible way for a beloved pet to die. That dog, left outside and attacked in the middle of the night, deserved more.
Also in September, a bear was shot and killed by a Snoqualmie man. The bear was in the man’s garbage, according to police. That bear, doing what bears do, forage for food, deserved more.
Last week here in Issaquah, a bear was hit and killed on Front Street South. I’ve said for a long time that people drive far too fast in some places, especially within our cities. It doesn’t seem to me that bears are so fast that one would dart out in front of a car, but maybe that’s what happened.
I can’t help but feel that people play a larger part in animal incidents than they sometimes admit to. When I sent out a note to friends about seeing a coyote in my yard, and a few months later a bobcat, I got back complaints about people’s cats missing in various areas.
Well, maybe this sounds harsh, but my cat of seven years isn’t missing. And that’s because I keep him inside, instead of letting him out unsupervised to be another animal’s lunch. And the same goes for my German shepherd.
Now, I know people are going to give me grief for my sentiments, but the name of this page is opinion, and everyone is welcome to his or hers.
Mine is that we’ve come a long way in learning about what’s good for pets and children. Kids used to be turned out of the house in the morning with a couple of dollars and an admonishment not to return later than dark. But we’ve learned from many horrible incidents that the world has changed, and you can’t just leave children to themselves anymore.
I think the same can and should be said about pets. Of course, you’re welcome to leave Kitty out in all kinds of weather. But is that kind? When Kitty becomes lunch or dinner for a wild animal, or it eats a mouse or bird, whose fault is that?
This territory belonged to the bears, coyotes, bobcats, cougars and other animals long before we moved here and placed our houses and yards. So how can we get mad when we see a bear in what was its own yard not long ago?
I recommend people live and let live when it comes to wild animals. And to be responsible when it comes to domesticated ones. They look to us to care for them, for their entire lives. How about we live up to that?