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The reality behind Reggie

August 13, 2007

Re "Reggie the gator makes zoo debut," Aug. 10

While all the hats, books and merchandise might bring money to the zoo, let's not forget the real issue here. An exotic, potentially dangerous animal was being kept by two men, one a former cop. They released this animal into a public lake where other animals have been killed -- he's been eating something for two years -- and some child could have become a victim. Where's the outrage? Why did one man receive only probation? The other awaits trial, but now that Reggie is a "hit," he will probably get off easy.

Years ago, this alligator would have been shot, so our behavior has improved, but the keeping of exotic animals as pets should not be condoned any time, anywhere. Millions of birds, monkeys and other animals die in the capture, transport, sale and finally in the "care" of their "owners" every year. Zoos don't usually take these animals, but Reggie is a star. All the other exotic animals languish in apartment bathtubs or cages, denied everything their nature deserves. Think about them when you celebrate Reggie.

Beatrice J. Simpson

South Pasadena

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