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Posted by Lisa on February 21, 2002 at 07:34:54:

In Reply to: Read This... posted by Zac on February 20, 2002 at 14:50:09:


If you look at the times on the posts you will realize that I am first seeing the posts many hours after they are being made. Because I work nights, I am not seeing the posts until the following day.

I respond on a post by post basis - in other words, yes you apologized later, but you had the opportunity to make the post, and I used my opportunity to reply to it. Understand? It isn't anything personal - stuff was said, and I rebutted them one-on-one - often agreeing that you had a point, while adding a "BUT... yadda yadda yadda..." OK? I'm not dragging this on, any more than you are.

And of course you are still a member! :) The only situations I can think of where we would actually even consider "voting out" a member would be active abuse of animals or people, or some other form of illegal activity.

The society is about the animals - not people or politics - that is what split up the Tri-State and Pittsburgh Herp Soc. in the first place (and in my opinion to the ultimate detriment of *BOTH* groups!) Anyways, only you can get yourself out of the society by actually saying "c-ya!", non-payment of dues (after several reminders), or just disappearing.

Sorry you can't make the meetings, but I know what a long drive you have esp. on a weeknight. But someone is always monitoring this forum, Chris Romano just created a new mailing list for club members only, and there is always email if you need to contact someone.

As for the newsletter and shows - they are both equally involved in the hypersensitivity, and my reaction to your post, because ever since last May, when we only had one show under our belt, and I took over the newsletter, I have been cajoling, begging, and pleading for someone, anyone, to contribute to both. With no success. Other than the complete godsend that Bill Allen has been with his folder full of typed up stories that was passed from the previous editor to me - there has been one President's column, one Treasurer's report, and one article on cobras submitted. (Thank you, everyone, for those contributions!!!)

IIRC, you had mentioned once, long ago, something about writing an article about a herping trip you took to (I think) Lake Erie to look for shorthead garters?? Does that ring a bell? If you would still be interested in writing that up (or anything else) that would be great.

About assessing the health of venomous animals, I will of course defer to George & Todd's greater knowledge, but it seems to me that eliciting their defensive mechanisms is the *BEST* way to assess a venomous animal's health. Remember that all herps show little or no overt signs of illness. In a ball python, you can handle the snake, check its cloaca, open its mouth to look for mouthrot, check for retained eyecaps, or other shed skin, feel the weight, and firmness of the animal (or the lack thereof), and feel for any abnormal lumps, bumps, ectoparasites, scars and scar tissue or badly healed bone fractures. Listening to it breathe, checking for wheezing, sneezing, bubbles, or other excess mucous. Most of these checks require your hands to be all over the animal's body, and your face to be quite close. You can also observe the ball python's behavior... Does it flinch/tense when you touch it, does it attempt to avoid/flee from touch? Does it ball itself up, and if so, how long until it relaxes? Is it active, or is it quite lethargic? How does it react when you approach the cage?

Well, obviously you know all that stuff, but with venomous, you can't handle the animal to assess the vast majority of those checks. But in assessing its attitude, some stimulus is necessary. A swift shake of a container will not harm nor truly seriously stress an animal - especially if it "appears" healthy when in a calm state - and it will quickly tell if a snake is lethargic or not. The alert hot will immediately lift its head and pivot towards the source of the stimulation, it should hood or rattle, it may open its mouth in a threat display (which is an excellent opportunity to get a good look inside its mouth for a health assessment). It may puff up its body, so you can hear it inhale or hiss, and listen for abnormalities in the sound that may indicate respiratory problems. A sick animal won't do some or all of these things, or its intensity will be noticeably reduced.

Considering the stresses endured by animals in the wild, captivity is quite boring, and the stimulation may actually be a good thing. (Think of the Croc Hunter and how he lets the crocs charge him and "defend their territory" as part of their enrichment program.) I guess that could be seen as harassment by some people too, in a way.

Ironically, I have heard that certain species of cobra can be tamed down, so that they just won't hood up anymore (ie. would need extra stimulation to get them to hood up), while others are so aggressive that just an object appearing within their field of view will cause them to hood and/or spit. Maybe George & Todd can confirm/deny this...

But respecting animals takes many forms, and tapping a cage to get a response isn't *neccesarily* disrespectful or harmful - any more than putting one of those Mexican poncho/sombrero things on an iguana, making a dog chase a ball you didn't really throw (you hid it behind your back), or getting a cat hopped up on catnip, is. And harassed, abused dogs have killed people. And dogs, iguanas, and cats have caused people to need plastic surgery, so venomous animals aren't specifically deserving of *more* respect simply because of their ability to "do more damage".

The reason why I stated this at all is because in the course of this thread, a thought occured to me... Isn't it interesting how the incidents seen at our show, and the ones I mentioned at other shows, all involved big, dangerous and/or venomous animals? Are garters, hognoses, corns, and beardies not shaken up, poked, prodded, probed, harassed and abused? Or do we just not notice, because they are not the big headlining, high-profile herps (and therefore don't matter, and won't injure anyone or cause a scene resulting in the dreaded "bad publicity").

And now *I* sound like a concerned animal-rights activist. We all love the animals, and only want what is best for them. We all have the same goals for the show, believe me. It is a lot of work to achieve them though, for a very small group of people to accomplish. We are trying.

No one has denied that the incidents happened as you both described them. Kids can be cruel, and steps will be taken to fix the potential problems. We can't truly control what the vendors do with their own animals, as long as no harm is inflicted. But I haven't met a vendor at our show yet that didn't love, and was totally fascinated by their animals. Remember that many are captive bred, and are their owner's means for making a living. Why would they harass them - especially to the point of doing them harm?

Well, in my usual wordiness, this has gotten exceedingly long, and ventured off onto several tangents. Hopefully this is more constructive and reasonable reading. Talk to ya later Zac!


: I realize that I should not have used the word pathetic in the title of my first post! I apologized for that, and donít quite understand why you continue to drag this on. So for the record, I am sorry for the vocabulary I used in the past postings. As far as my role with the TSHS, I am willing to do stuff for the club if you still consider me a member. I probably wonít attend the meetings, but I am more than wiling to write for the newsletter and speak at the shows. I would have said hi had I seen you, but I promise I didnít. The true irony in this is it seems you and I have similar opinions when it comes to the venomous herps and the dealers. I like you do not think a highly venomous animal should be reachable by a child or someone with a similar mentality. I also think that harassing these animals to show off there various defensive mechanisms isnít a sound policy either. I donít care what kind of animal your dealing with that is not a measurement of health! These animals deserve more respect than that. Unlike the incident at the Hamburg show you witnessed, what I witnessed in one event was the dealer doing the aggravation, not a passer by. Both of these events I noticed at the show multiple times. Everyone can deny, but I and Kathy both have witnessed this kind of behavior at the show. This was what upset me. I should have been more mature and not let emotions get in the way, and I should have waited to talk to some one. Once again, I am sorry!

: Zac

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