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Mark Brown and his pet raccoonsPosted Friday, August 2, 2013, at 12:40 PM
I am sure that most of you have seen or heard of Mark Brown and his "pet" raccoon(s). This story has been all over the media lately. He is located in Gallatin, Tennessee.
I am sad and angry over this recent exploitation of native Tennessee wildlife. Point by point:
1. Keeping a raccoon as a pet is a violation of state law. I hope that Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is already intervening in this situation.
2. These videos send the wrong message. They lead people to believe that raccoons would make great pets.
3. It is dangerous. Raccoons are very susceptible to diseases that can be transmitted to people and pets. In particular, rabies comes to mind. They can carry and transmit the rabies virus without showing ANY symptoms. It is transmitted through saliva. Rabies is FATAL!
4. I was not surprised to learn that this raccoon died at 4 years of age. The animal was at least 3 times its normal weight. I strongly suspect it died from cardiovascular disease. It may also have contracted diabetes and other diseases.
5. Tennessee is one of the states portrayed as backwards and "hillbilly", with all of the bad connotations that go along with it. In my research I ran across many disparaging remarks about us, including one that suggested Mr. Brown would be uploading a video of himself, his wife, and his sister engaging in an illegal action. I hate that we Tennesseans are seen in such a negative light.
This animal and many others are taken from their natural habitat to provide amusement for humans. They are denied the opportunity of living free, natural lives - basically denied the chance to live as God made them.
Is this really worth the 10 seconds of entertainment that it provided some people?
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Vicky Carder is a Shelbyville native. In 1991 she founded Walden's Puddle Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Nashville. There she served as Executive Director for more than 12 years. The Center is the largest wildlife hospital in Middle Tennessee. She has published in wildlife national and international journals. Now she wants to share her knowledge of native wildlife and some of the experiences she had while working with wildlife.