Just say 'No' to fantastically odd pets - Curt Yeomans

Sadly, I can't begin this column with a "Man walks in a bar ..." joke because everyone else already has.

A Huntington Beach, Calif., man recently made headlines for walking into a bar with his pet, 3-foot alligator on a leash. Police followed him home and found another alligator. Apparently, there was a whole family of gators living with this man.

Either that, or he's a really hard-core Florida fan.

People love to own odd pets -- like pythons -- for example. Why would anyone want a pet that can eat other small pets and children?

I mean, while you're at it, just go to the odd pet store and buy a black bear for the back yard, and a baby Great White Shark for that really big fish tank.

Hey, the White House has been home to several odd pets, according to the Presidential Pet Museum's web site. Calvin Coolidge's wife, Rebecca, had a pet raccoon while they lived in the White House. Of course, the Coolidges also had a pet donkey, a goose, a bobcat, lion cubs, and a pigmy hippopotamus.

Abraham Lincoln had a pet turkey, named Jack, and a pig, named Fido. Woodrow Wilson had a ram, and a flock of sheep, which grazed on the White House lawn. William Taft had a cow, while his predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt, had a hyena, coyote and a zebra, among other animals.

Wait a minute. Back up a second. The White House has been home to pigs, sheep, lions and hippos?

I'm sorry, but that's a bit eccentric, even if White House pets are now typically just a few dogs or cats.

The same thing goes for the typical American home. Wild animals are not meant to be some rich person's eccentric pet, just because that individual wants to be different.

People tend to want to go so far in their search for uniqueness, that they end up doing a lot of stupid things. Let's be honest, pursuing a dream of circumnavigating the world just because you have the money to do it does not negate the fact that it's dangerous.

Owning animals that are not meant to be domesticated is the same thing.

If they want to stand out, might I suggest trying to make a fashion statement by dressing like a clown. Having a pet that can eat you, and/or your neighbors is not the appropriate way to go.

Let me point this out, in case anyone is thinking about rushing out to get their own pet alligator -- It can EAT you!

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.