Unsung heroes — going beyond the call of duty to rescue animals

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American cops are certainly getting a lot of bad press these days — and with good reason, some might say. But I recently came across two stories that show just how far some police and animal control officers will go to do the right thing.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

The first story, which was widely publicized here in the greater New York City area, is one about some Port Authority police officers who rescued an injured dog on the George Washington Bridge.

Now, you don’t have to live anywhere New York City to know that the GWB is, well, terrifying. At the best of times its upper and lower decks are crammed full of cars and trucks driven by cranky New York drivers in a rush to get across the span. Then there are the drivers trying to cross the bridge who have no idea where they’re going. Put the two groups together, add in some construction (there’s almost always construction), lane closures (that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie allegedly has no knowledge of) and you’ve got one giant cluster bleep.

Now I don’t know if there were actually any lane closures on the day in question. But chances are there was probably tons of traffic. In any case, just imagine being a poor little puppy stuck in the middle of all of that. And imagine how scared you’d be if you’d gotten hit by a car, too.

Fortunately for little Ronin, who found himself in heaps of trouble after he got away from the person walking him, Port Authority police officers Fred Corrubia and Jonathan Harder were on duty that day. According to published accounts, the officers — who were in the vicinity — responded to a report of an injured dog on the bridge, and brought him to safety. As if that wasn’t enough, the officers also took him to a local animal hospital, where he was treated for leg and paw injuries before being reunited with his owner.

In another recent act of bravery, animal control officers in Guilford, Connecticut, rescued a baby skunk. In media accounts chronicling the incident, officials said the little stinker (pun fully intended) was stuck in a courtyard at a local middle school. Rather than putting the children and the skunk through an unnecessary ordeal, the animal control officers used a humane trap to catch the skunk and then used an innovative method to remove it from the school grounds.

The skunk — which seemed healthy — reportedly emerged from the incident unscathed. And for the record, the animal control officers did, too.

Skunks as pets? What cute little stinkers

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This has got to be my favorite topic to date. I mean, I’ve heard about people keeping all sorts of interesting pets — pigs, snakes, ferrets, birds, gerbils, rabbits and even rats. But skunks? I’ve never met anyone who has a pet skunk. Or even anyone who wants one for that matter.

Apparently it isn’t all that unusual though. The website skunk-info.org lists seventeen states where ownership of “captive-bred pet skunks is allowed.” If a change reportedly being considered by Tennessee lawmakers actually occurs,  the Volunteer State could soon join that list.

According to one news account, the proposed legislation calls for relaxation of existing rules that currently forbid “importation, possession, or transfer of live skunks so that skunk ownership and propagation may be regulated by the wildlife resources commission under its rules for Class II wildlife.”

So far the idea has garnered a mixed reaction and that’s understandable. There are pros and cons to all pet ownership, even for those of us that only have dogs or cats.

In Brief Legal Writing Services owner Alexandra Bogdanovic's cat, Eli.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli under the Christmas Tree. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

The bottom line is that if you’re thinking of getting something more unusual than the average house cat or dog, you’d better know what you’re in for. If you’re serious about getting a skunk, you can find plenty of information on the Internet.  At exoticpets.about.com, you can find advice about skunk behavior, health,  and more. Among other things, there is information about whether or not pet skunks should be spayed or neutered, finding a vet who can treat them, and the proper vaccinations for pet skunks and how to make sure the new addition to your family isn’t a real little stinker.

As far as I know, you can’t have a pet skunk in Connecticut. But that’s fine with me. I’ve got my hands full with Eli.