My neck of the woods is making news headlines this morning. About ten miles southeast of here, a woman was mauled to death by a Bengal tiger yesterday. The good news is, that does not mean there are Bengal tigers roaming loose in the woods. At least I hope. The tiger was kept penned up on the woman's property; apparently she was licensed to keep it and she used to run a wildcat breeding program. The only clue I had that I was living so close to Bengal tigers was the large chain link fence enclosing that property; I had often wondered if they were fencing something in or keeping something out.
The woman was discovered in the tiger cage by a man who had come to do some burning on the property. The tiger was walking around looking "agitated"; eventually law enforcement and a veterinarian arrived and the tiger was put down in order to reach the victim. According to the sheriff, who usually does not venture out into these parts, the cause of death was "obvious", but he "did not elaborate". Oh, the mental image that conjures up.
Why people choose to keep big exotic cats is beyond me. Besides the obvious safety issue, and there have been several maulings around the state recently, I just don't think these animals belong in cages. It is sad that their natural habitat is disappearing, but keeping wild cats for breeding or other purposes in confinement is sad too.
Another question I have is why the guy was even considering burning yesterday; it was windy! The Hermit has seen one "controlled" grass fire, tended by people who supposedly knew what they were doing, get out of hand in a light wind and burn down a barn. Ah, but it's that time of year, and for some reason rural folk just can't stand the sight of last year's growth of grass or cattails in ditches and swamps.
The wind continued all through the night and this morning. Which brings me to spruce trees. I just received a call here at work from The Hermit, who informed me that a fairly large spruce tree had broken off halfway up the trunk and hit the cabin. Wow. Apparently there's little damage, and he and Mr. Attitude are fine, but I know who's going to spend the afternoon with the chain saw. Pictures soon, maybe.