Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Morons 1, Meerkats 0

Here's the story that created so much buzz on my KMOX show this afternoon.

Five meerkats were euthanized after one of them bit a 9-year-old girl at an exhibit at the Minnesota Zoo.

Why did the animals have to die? Because the parents of the girl didn't want her to have to have rabies shots. Since she wouldn't do that, state law mandates that the meerkats had to be tested, which required killing them. Naturally, the tests showed that they didn't have rabies, but by then it was too late.

Here's the unasked question in this story: where were the girl's parents, or whoever was supposed to be keeping an eye on her that day? To get close enough for the meerkat to take a nip at her finger, the kid had to crawl over a driftwood barrier, climb up several feet of artificial rock, reach over four feet of Plexiglas to get her arm into the exhibit, and then dangle her arm down to where the meerkats were. While all that was going on, no adult stopped her.

The girl should have been forced to get the rabies shots, regardless of how painful they might be. Then she and her family should have been barred from the zoo. Instead, the animals are dead and the zoo not only has to replace them, but has to add an additional barrier in case other parents aren't doing their job and making sure their kids stay out of harm's way.

Kind of makes me wish the kid had tried her stunt in the Ape House.