October 6, 2003

"Don't kill the cat."

I have it on good authority (Mary Hart's) that those words were spoken by Roy Horn on his way to a Vegas hospital with a gaping tiger bite in his neck. Here's the thing about the Siegfried and Roy fiasco. I don't agree with wild creatures being in captivity for the cheap purposes of performing to jaded human masses. Sixty-three specially-bred white lions and tigers live in the Siegfried and Roy complex where, in between roaming the mansion and grounds and apparently sleeping in Roy's boudoir, they learn nifty illusionist tricks that they then perform nightly for well-paying crowds at the Mirage. Siegfried and Roy have been doing this for years, many years, and have never once been attacked. One bad night and Roy ends up in the hospital on life support. I suppose you're waiting for me to rant about how tigers aren't supposed to be domesticated (it doesn't take) and how wild creatures need freedom and all that. I suppose you're waiting for the cheer of victory that the tigers took one back for their own. It's not coming. And the single reason why it isn't is the statement Roy Horn made on his way to hospital. "Don't kill the cat."

I don't agree with a lot of the things Siegfried and Roy have become ridiculously wealthy and famous for doing. We differ in our opinions on the meaning of the term 'wild'. But one thing I learned today is that Roy really loves those animals. All sixty-three several thousand snarling pounds of them. It takes a special kind of animal lover to say, after an attack that very nearly cost his life, "don't kill the cat". I have to give kudos where they're due. In any other instance, Montecore might now be so much dead tiger. So here's hoping Roy recovers well so that he can get back to caring for all the lions and tigers he loves enough to intervene on behalf of even while bleeding out.

Montecore is not at fault. And now, thanks to Roy, he won't have to be punished for being true to his nature.

"Don't kill the cat."

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