In what's gotta be the world's worst "Twilight" tie-in, D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh is standing up for the District's poor and neglected bats.
She's having a bill considered today, the "Wildlife Protection Act of 2009," that makes sure that no fuzzy little creatures wandering around the streets or in the skies can be harmed -- at least unless you want to file multiple reports in triplicate.
At last, bureaucracy comes to pest removal.
So say you've got a beaver munching on your bush. Under Cheh's "Vermin Protection Act of 2009" (wait, sorry, that's "Wildlife Protection Act"), when you call up that creepy wildlife guy to take care of it, he has to provide you with a written report detailing all your options, lethal and non-lethal.
Before taking drastic action, the bill requires the wildlife control operator to consider the "root causes" of the issue. Why is the beaver munching on the bush? Is it in her nature? It also urges the operator to consider the critter's "cultural practices." Perhaps there's a big beaver street festival where one could go to learn about the beaver's culture.
But let's say your problem is worse. You've got a wild boar running around your yard, terrorizing your poodles. After the operator's exhausted all possibilities and considered the hog's culture, the only option left is extermination.
Like all good bureaucracies, what's the answer? Paperwork. The wild animal guy has to fill out a report and get written consent from the client before he can proceed. Thankfully, the bill does not require the animal control officer to get the pest's assent to be euthanized.
The bill also sets out rules regarding trapping of animals, should they need to be transported elsewhere. The bill does not allow the traps to be set in locations where the animal could be harmed by the weather, which pretty much rules out all but indoor malls -- can't expose them to August humidity or January freeze, after all.
Other vermin-first provisions:
* Critter family units must be preserved -- apparently so mom and dad can later eat their young.
* Bat colonies are off limits at all times during the summer months without express written approval by the D.C. Government.
But the best part? None of these pest-first protections applies to some of the biggest nuisances in D.C. It doesn't cover rats. So feel free to slaughter them and torture them as you did. And it doesn't cover wild cats or dogs.
So apparently under this bill, bats, beavers, foxes, coyotes, three-toed sloths, alligators and grizzly bear are all eligible for better treatment than Mr. Winkles the kitty, Rex the puppy or Rizzo the Rat.
Where are their rights, Councilmember Cheh? Who will stand up for them?