Second Thoughts About Tigers on the Loose Near the Rio GrandeOpinion
OPINION — No doubt you can imagine my immense disappointment upon learning that there really wasn’t a tiger loose along the Rio Grande last week, as was reported by several news media outlets, including this one. The photo above circulated on social media of a tiger lounging in shallow water along the edge of a river that could very well have been the Rio Grande, and it was claimed to have been taken near Laredo. Texas Ag Commissioner Sid Miller reportedly said, when told about the picture, “Who needs chupacrabras when you have real tigers out in the woods?’ Who, indeed?
But it wasn’t true, which is a pity. I was hoping to see if the City of Laredo would fine the tiger, the way Seattle has been fining a cat. Miska, a brown tabby, has racked up thousands of dollars in fines for infractions ranging from trespassing to ‘taunting other cats through their windows.’ Seattle has had about fifty complaints about cats during the past ten years, and over thirty of those involve Miska. She’s a bad kitty.
The troubles started in 2014, when neighbors started lodging complaints about Miska’s behavior. She was trapped and did several months of hard time in Seattle’s animal control facility, but was finally sprung by her owner. While incarcerated Miska was kept in solitary confinement and denied visitation rights, due to her ‘violent’ nature. The manager of the facility deemed her ‘vicious,’ and signed an order to have her euthanized, but for some reason she received a stay of execution, and remains at large.
Miska’s charges have not been dropped, though, and she has since retained an attorney, or at least her owner has. The problem is that no one knows for sure who has jurisdiction over the case, so litigation is ongoing. And you thought stuff like that only happened in California.
At least Miska is probably not in as much trouble as the beluga whale that was hanging around in a suspicious manner off the coast of Norway recently. The Norwegian military suspects the whale might be a Russian spy. It didn’t help that it was wearing a Fedora and a trench coat, with an AK-47 in the pocket.
Not really. What the whale was wearing was a harness, with ‘Equipment of St. Petersburg’ written on one of the straps. Which obviously means the whale came from Murmansk. OK, I don’t understand that connection, either, but the Norwegians figure since Russia has a naval facility in Murmansk, maybe the whale came from there. To spy on the notoriously nefarious underwater activities of Norwegian fishermen. Or something.
Above: The beluga whale
Honestly, the idea is not as crazy as it sounds, since the Russians have a history of training fish to do their dirty deeds. During the cold war they taught dolphins to find underwater mines and plant explosives. Really. They had a base at Sevastopol, in Crimea, where they trained them. When the Soviet Union collapsed and the money dried up, along with the caviar, the base was closed, and a bunch of the trained fish, which included at least one beluga whale, were sold to Iran for ‘undisclosed purposes.’ That can’t be good.
But the shady story doesn’t end there. No. In 2016 the Russian Defense Ministry published a public tender to purchase five dolphins for ‘training purposes.’ The ad didn’t say what the dolphins would be trained to do, but it did specify that they should have ‘good teeth.’ Maybe they planned to teach the dolphins to bite US Navy Seals, or something.
Which brings us, obviously, to parrots. Brazilian police have arrested a parrot for warning its owners of an impending drug raid. As the officers approached the target house, the parrot saw them through a window and started shouting, “Mama! Police!” Not that it made a whole lot of difference, since the suspects were apprehended anyway, along with a pile of cocaine. Still, that doesn’t exactly let the parrot off the hook. One of the officers involved said, “He must have been trained for this. As soon as the police got close he started shouting.” They’re pretty tough on crime, down there in Brazil, so the parrot was handcuffed (wingcuffed?) along with its owners.
Maybe the police were hoping for a confession, or something. After all, the bird can talk. But since he’s been in custody the parrot has refused to say a word. He sits on top of a stack of official police documents, pointedly not answering questions. And it’s not that the police haven’t grilled him. Brazilian news outlet Meio Norte (Media North) posted a video of the bird refusing to answer the detectives’ queries. Perhaps parrots have a code, like the Mafia, or something.
The police plan to send the parrot to rehab for a few months, and then let him go, but he’s not the first critter to be recruited by bad guys. Other parrots have been known to be used as lookouts, and in 2008 a couple of alligators were arrested in Rio de Janeiro on suspicion of eating some victims of local gangsters. That may not have actually happened, though, since the father of one of the gangsters told police the guys had tried to feed a victim to the gators, but they declined to consume it. Which probably didn’t help their case, but there you go.
Maybe a loose tiger on the Rio Grande isn’t the worst thing that could happen . . .
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