Saturday, December 13, 2008

Purina Snake Chow, quality guaranteed by contract.

So, once upon a time I needed to get some food for Kaa, a pet ball python I owned back then. I stopped by the pet store at the mall, but they were out of rodents. I knew that the pet shop in the strip center was closed, and that left only one fallback plan on that day at that hour: Super Pet Big Box Mart.

I strolled in and wandered over to the section where they keep small critters, looking for a tank of feeder mice or a smallish rat. An employee with hair of a color not found in nature came over to see if I needed help. "Yes, do you have any, y'know, just plain white mice? Or small rats? Like for about a two-foot snake?"

She drew herself up to her full, indignant 5'2" and huffed "Super Pet Big Box Mart does not sell food animals!"

*blink*, *blink* But... but... they're all food animals for something.

Shifting gears quickly, I pointed at a tank of fancy pet rats and squeed "Ooooh! He's adorable! I want him!" and it worked! She then tried to upsell me on some accessories. "No, that's okay. I already have a tank I can keep him in. Briefly."

Apparently these days I would have had to sign a contract, were this transaction to occur in the great state of Florida.


Brian J. said...

Ever think of adopting a pet from a rescue group? Their contracts include niceties such as:

* Unannounced home inspections by the animal group to make sure you're keeping the animal in a manner in which the animal group approves.

* Notifying the rescue group within seven (7) days of the animal's death under penalty of $1000 fine.

I'm not talking about the humane society or shelters; we've adopted from them plenty. But the real zealous, no-kill, we're fostering these (breed of dog)s in our own homes groups have the most intrusive contracts, most of which the participants don't even know about because they've just copied the papers from another bunch of amateurs saving (different breed of dog).

Home on the Range said...

I have a a girlfriend back in O-town who has a python. It started out as her son's, then she ended up keeping him when her son graduated.

Before I moved further west, I ended up snake sitting while they were on vacation, more than once. Easy to do, he didn't require "fetch" every fifteen minutes, but there was the food issue every few days.

I would hit the pet store. I always felt a wee bit bad carrying home dinner in this cute little box that had emblazoned across it "thank you for giving me a home!!!"

Anonymous said...

The law makes perfect sense, because of course someone who could murder a puppy or starve a hamster or fry up a cute little bunny rabbit for a meal would never, ever, ever lie about it.

phlegmfatale said...

... or what?

You'd be getting a visit from the rodent protective service?

Anonymous said...

This is why the herp guy I know best buys his frozen.

Of course, some snakes won't eat it unless it's live... then again, some snakes can be DAMN dumb. I know another herp person whose black-headed python had to be taught that, among other things, neither a tea towel nor its own tail were food.

Anonymous said...

Briefly. LOL. Jim

Anonymous said...

The only snake I ever owned ate goldfish, so this was less of an issue.

Old NFO said...

Reminds me of the California dog and cat folks going nuts over the Vietnamese getting animals from the humane society and others on a weekly basis. They were eating them as a delicacy!!!

Anonymous said...

I clicked through and read the actual law, and you can legally trip a horse in Florida if you're doing for the purpose of determining ownership. Silly me, I thought that was what horse branding and tattooing was for. Still, tripping a horse "for the purpose of identifying ownership of the horse where its ownership is unknown ..."

Brian J, I can understand that a dog rescue group would want to make sure its dogs went on to become pets, and not either a) taken to the local pound for death if the dog didn't take to the family, or b) to be used for training in dog fights. But as always, sensible steps for the right reasons always get spun into the nuttiest rules.

I've known a couple of people who adopted rescue dogs, and the dogs always were like a ticking time bomb, and the darndest thing would get their panic buttons pushed. I think the poor things should just be put down.

Anonymous said...

I used to raise rats for my brother-in-law's pet store. Although I would hand tame the youngsters before they went to the store, it was for my own ease in handling them. Wife & I recognized most of them went for snake food (we also had a boa at the time, but it ate only mice).

The rats were more intelligent than the snakes, but they are still only critters.

Anonymous said...

I used to have mice when I was a kid (between the ages of 9 - 12). Sometimes I let them run free in my room (my mother just loved that...) and once I accidentally stepped on one and broke it's back. Sounds like some people would like to classify something like that as a crime nowadays. Besides, since I had both males and females there was the question of population explosion, and since my parents had decided the critters were my problem it also meant I had to kill the newborn. Which I did with mom's little meat axe - by chopping their heads off, because that was the cleanest and fastest way I was able to think of to do it, without causing them pain.

Did that for a couple of years, until one day our cat got to them. My mother and I had been away from home for a weekend, and when she called my father to come and pick us up from the bus station the first thing he said was that the cat had eaten the mice. Heh. The only thing I was able to find in my room was a piece of black and white mouse pelt underneath my bed. Can't say I was overly shocked, even if I was usually one of those girls who started bawling when I saw, read or heard sad stories of animals (still do). Mice are cute, but they don't have much of a personality, I had never gotten attached to any individual ones. But when that cat finally died I was miserable for months.

B.S. philosopher said...

I used to work in a pet store in Florida (It rhymed with Pet Schmupermarket) when I was in college about 15 years ago. We didn't have any such law at that time.

I did have to refuse to sell a gerbil to a strange lisping character on the (false) grounds that it was a pregnant female.

Weirdo said it was for his kid, But I am pretty certain he'd never seen a human female's hoo-ha in his life, much less done anything with a woman that would have resulted in a kid.

He didn't want a cage or any food or bedding and he didn't have the "look" that most herp owners do. So I was quite certain that the poor gerbil's future would have involved a length of 2 inch PVC and duck tape.

Better safe than sorry I say.

word verification: Nompho

Anonymous said...

There is actually a logical, real world comprehensible reason for the law. The problem is simply that the law is overbroad.

What the law was aimed at was an apparently growing problem: people buying expensive dog and cat breeds from supposedly reputable breeders and stores, and then finding out very quickly that they just spent several hundred dollars (in some cases a few thousand) for an animal who was sickly or already seriously ill with something and likely to die on them fairly quickly, or otherwise turn out to be some sort of money hole--usually because they were purebreeds turned out by puppy mills.
The Florida legislature, of course, being the Florida legislature, forget to limit the law so it didn't apply to pets like mice and rats, or to mongrels placed from rescue shelters, etc.
Hence the contract.

Anonymous said...

TO quote a student I knew:

"Free to good home. Words that make my mouth water."

Anonymous said...

I've adopted two cats from a Petsmart in the Tampa Bay area. The forms I filled out asked if I was willing to allow home inspections. I checked the "no" box and moved on. Not a word was said by the store personnel.

My mother used to believe that the USF Medical school rounded up free cats for use in medical experiments. I have no idea if it was ever true or not.

Unknown said...

I wonder...

I had a friend who had a boa... He'd buy live mice, then rats, in bulk... Then freeze 'em. His preferred method of doing away with 'em wasn't the "pencil across the head and yank the tail" bit, but instead, he'd mix up a stockpot of icewater (sometimes with some CO2), and dump in the box and slam the lid on... Seems he was worried about his snake getting hurt by a live critter. So he'd warm 'em before feeding time... But when he gave the snake to another couple (it was growing too large to be controlled by one person), it was darn near up to rabbit size...

So... I wonder... Would a puppy have a decent chance of hurting a snake?

Anonymous said...

When I kept a Rainbow Boa and a Yellow Rat Snake (among six or eight species when I was in high school), I took good care of my mice. I would buy them live and, grasping them by the tail, bash their little heads smartly against the corner of my main cage, which I'd built stoutly.

I had actually fed them full-up to my lovelies, enjoying the spectacle. At one point, however, I'd left one in a cage temporarily containing a Hog-nose Snake with the Yellow Ratter. When I returned, the mouse was gone and the Hog-nose was a pile of bloody shreds in the corner. I had only one conclusion.

I murdered 'em live right there on the spot ever after.

The Hog-Noses (I kept several) though, were always happy with frozen toads, suitably thawed.