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Originally Posted: 11 June 2009
Tell Eastlake Ohio Officials to Learn About and Take Better Care of Wildlife
From David Sickles
Tell Eastlake Ohio officials to stop indiscriminately and callously killing wild animals.
Ted Andrzejewski, Mayor & Safety Director
The City of Eastlake
35150 Lake Shore Boulevard
Eastlake OH 44095-2047
phone (440) 951-1416 ext 102
fax (440) 951-9361
From David Sickles
What I Witnessed Today in Eastlake, Ohio
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Around 12:30 pm, I witnessed two Eastlake Police Officers shoot a large and healthy appearing raccoon and then toss him into a garbage dumpster like a piece of trash.
When I approached the officers and asked what they were doing, one of the officers said “we shot a raccoon” and when I asked why, he stated “raccoons are nothing but rats” and that the animal was “sick”. I asked how he knew the raccoon was sick and he said “raccoons do not come outside during the day unless they are rabid”. I asked him if he was a veterinarian too, and he said no. I told him that while many raccoons are nocturnal, many more are not and that they do come out during the day especially in suburban areas and in areas where they have no natural predators.
I then looked at the raccoon in the trash can and even after being shot twice, he was still very much alive: writhing in pain and gasping for each breath he took. I asked the officers to at least be humane and kill him, and they refused and walked away.
I tried talking to the chief of police and mayor, who were both out of town. I did talk to another police Lieutenant who made lie after lie statements to me. He first said that the raccoon was “mangled” (his feet) and he intimated that the police were doing him a service by shooting him. When I told this Lieutenant that I had a clear look at the raccoon, and that he was not mangled at all, he quickly changed his story. He then said that health department laws require that police preserve the head intact for rabies testing. I checked with both the county and state health agencies and I was right. They request that police preserve the head if they can, and they only really stress the need for the head to be preserved if the animal has attacked or bitten someone. There are NO laws mandating that raccoons can not be shot in the head to quickly kill them. Also no one was attacked or bitten in this case.
What I saw in that dumpster and what I witnessed today is something that I will never forget. When I told the officer that the raccoon was still alive, he said “so what, mind your own business, go home, and don’t tell me how to do my job” in a very snotty way.
On Monday, May 18, 2009, I briefly talked to the mayor on the phone (he refused to meet with me) and he refused to even investigate what happened. He said he was siding with the police before even hearing what I witnessed and he said that what they did was justified. When I mentioned how cruel and barbaric the situation was he again refused to budge from his entrenched position. He was however highly concerned that the officers were rude and very unprofessional to me, yet he could care less about the raccoon dieing in agony. The mayor clearly had his mind made up long before he talked to me - sounds like a true “representative” of the people.
The mayor of course brought out the rabies scare tactic and he repeated that raccoons only come outside during the day when they are sick with something like distemper or rabies. He was very adamant that the rabies test on this raccoon would probably come back positive, as if that justifies being cruel to the animal. When I again stated that some healthy raccoons come outside during the day, he brushed aside my concerns and said he considers the matter closed.
What I personally witnessed was unnecessary, barbaric and callous. There needs to be a clear set of guidelines for the humane killing of wildlife if the animal does need to be killed. Does your organization have such a policy, or would you write one on your organizations letterhead? Even a statement asking that this situation be thoroughly investigated and that humane methods be developed for future use would be appreciated.
Once a police officer commits to shooting a wild animal, they should be required to make sure that the animal is dead as quickly and humanely possible, and not to let the animal suffer and die in agony.
This should never happen again. The Mayor, who is also the Safety Director has shirked his responsibility in making sure that his employees act properly and humanely while being paid as public servants.
Please send a stern but polite letter to the mayor requesting that he do the right thing and set up a policy of humane killing of animals, when necessary:
Please email me a copy of the letter or statement that you send to the mayor, so I can keep track of who the mayor is hearing from. We need letters from Humane, Wildlife and Environmental groups, wildlife biologists, veterinarians and individuals world-wide stating how cruel and inhumane this was, and that changes need to be made for future incidents.
Thank you very much for your assistance. And the raccoon tested NEGATIVE for rabies after all.
Thank you for everything you do for animals!
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