Man denied reimbursement for cat eaten by coyotes
by Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX- Arizona taxpayers aren't going to fork out $328.21 to a Marana man who discovered too late a law of nature: Coyotes are higher on the food chain than house cats.
Members of the state Game and Fish Commission told Wallace Burford Friday that they were indeed very sorry that one or two of the state's approximately 250,000 coyotes had killed his cat. And, they said, they were sure that the amount he sought - the cost of moving Jake the cat to Arizona two years ago, getting his shots and, eventually, cremating what the coyotes left behind - would not truly compensate him for his loss.
But no, they said, it is not the responsibility of the state of Arizona to reimburse him for the actions of wild animals.
The commission's unanimous decision left Burford, who brought the ashes of Jake to the meeting in a small plastic box, less than satisfied. He said his next step will be to file suit in small claims court - and maybe even move out of the state.
"He was no ordinary cat," said Burford, saying Jake would walk with him "just like a dog." Burford said he paid to have Jake flown out here from Virginia when the family moved to the Tucson area in May 1999, concerned the cat would not like the cross-country trip.
But no one told him to keep Jake indoors. Days after the cat arrived, Burford found it - or what was left of it - beside the road.
Burford suggested warning signs for newcomers. But commissioner Sue Chilton said it's not that simple.
"It would be well if they were informed of a lot of things," she said, including scorpions and rattlesnakes, all sorts of things they may not have had back in Virginia. But failure to do that doesn't make the state liable, she said.
Burford also questioned why the state doesn't feed the coyotes "so they're not eating people's cats."
"Our policy is not to feed wild animals," responded commission Chairman Dennis Manning.
"We are deeply sorry," commissioner Hays Gilstrap told Burford. "However, this is not without precedent - that these sorts of things happen to domestic cats and dogs."
Burford got no support for his claim from the Sierra Club, which has sometimes found itself at odds with the hunting and fishing crowd. Sandy Bahr, the organization's lobbyist, said the club opposes using tax dollars to pay when a wild animal kills something that isn't native, whether that be a calf or a cat.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Maybe this man needs to seek the help of Pres. Obama...
This is a real newspaper article printed in a small local paper near Tucson, Arizona. I found it back about 10 years ago and filed it away, and just remembered it this week. It is hilarious!!