[thechat] Some people have no respect

aardvark roselli at earthlink.net
Wed May 29 20:29:00 CDT 2002

> From: <kristenannfrey at yahoo.com>
> After spending 5 days in NYC, I was starting to like Buffalo again ...
> Until...
> http://www.buffnews.com/editorial/20020529/1039076.asp

man, i had no idea... haven't seen the news in days... i live two
blocks from the zoo, too, and particularly enjoy hearing the lions
and other animals on still summer nights...

i'm glad i wasn't there, because i *know* i would have taken to
beating someone senseless if i saw them harassing any of the

as for the link, you have to visit the home page first... it's a
poorly-built site, and because of that, i don't mind posting the
content (says something about even a minor barrier to entry -- i'll
keep my eyes open for july 4):

Mass misbehavior leaves zoo a mess

Widespread rowdiness and vandalism at the Buffalo Zoo on Memorial
Day, after more than 15,000 people came through the turnstiles free
of charge, may spell the end of open admission on major holidays, zoo
President Donna M. Fernandes said Tuesday.

Though zoo staff members and private security officers were out in
force, Fernandes said, they couldn't stop the mischief, most of which
was committed by teenagers. It included:

Garbage and other objects - including a baseball hat - hurled over
exhibit barriers at bears, lions and tigers.

Partial destruction of the mesh canopy enclosing Lorikeet Landing, a
popular tropical bird exhibit. Until they were stopped, some visitors
used the downed mesh as a trampoline.

Abuse of lorikeets and lorries in the exhibit. Visitors pulled down
branches on which the birds were perched and then let go, catapulting
the birds into the air. People also were caught trying to smuggle
birds out of the enclosure.

A number of fights, including a mace-spraying incident involving
several girls that started outside the giraffe exhibit and spilled
into the parking lot.

A grass fire set in front of the outdoor lion and tiger exhibit.

Parents dangling small children over the railings outside the bear
and lion and tiger exhibits, despite clearly posted danger warnings.

The outrages didn't stop there, Fernandes noted, citing people
pounding on glass exhibits in the reptile building (the window on the
emerald boa constrictor enclosure was hit so hard, a heat lamp used
to warm the creature was broken); the deliberate plugging of restroom
toilets; unsupervised young children urinating in shrubbery; damage
to flower beds and bushes; extensive littering of the grounds with
beer and malt liquor containers sneaked through the gatein violation
of the zoo's ban on alcoholic beverages; and repeated attempts to
feed animals despite many signs saying feeding is prohibited.

While a large majority of the 17,000 people in attendance - including
1,700 who paid their way in - behaved normally, and teens appeared to
be the principal culprits, many adults defied requests from staffers
or security officers to follow the rules, she added.

Fernandes told the zoo board during its annual meeting that Monday's
mass misbehavior, following similar incidents July 4, may doom the
tradition of sponsor-subsidized free admission on the big holidays.

Most of the troublemakers apparently used free-admission coupons
distributed by a pharmacy chain, which co-sponsored Memorial Day at
the zoo with an area health plan.

The zoo will charge $1 a head this July 4. After Labor Day, which is
scheduled to be a free day for people holding sponsor coupons, all
major holidays are likely to be dollar days, Fernandes said.

"Free days in general bring people who don't always appreciate what
they're given. Maybe if they had to pay a small charge, they'd be
more thankful for the chance to see the zoo," she said.

There are no plans to eliminate 10 other free days the zoo offers
annually, she said. Those dates are not major holidays and are not
underwritten by sponsors.

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