published Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Chattanooga Zoo

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about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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mountainlaurel said...

Chattanooga Zoo says: "The mission of the Chattanooga Zoo is to provide an educational and recreational opportunity for all citizens of the community. The educational mission stresses an understanding of, and respect for, all living things. A strong commitment to conservation for generations to come is implicit in this mission. The Chattanooga Zoo seeks to provide a dignified and aesthetically pleasing environment for the animals."

So much for the mission statement . . .It's hard to believe that any zoo would forget to feed the animals and leave them outside at night in the freezing tempertures - shame, shame, shame.

February 8, 2011 at 1:25 a.m.
fairmon said...

The zoo was opened over 75 years ago before videos, Cd's, travelogues and other means to view and learn about any species were available. The justification, if there ever was one, for having a zoo in every city of any size is no longer valid.

The majority of tax payers have little to no value for incarcerating innocent animals so those so inclined can gawk at them in a mimicked natural habitat. There is no valid justification for allocating tax payer money to fund a zoo. It is a non-essential and unnecessary allocation when human needs of assistance in obtaining clothing, food and shelter are so significant. Recently increased tax and other city government revenue sources put a greater burden on many citizens and businesses than was necessary and is unjustified.

The friends of the zoo should recruit enough like minded people and solicit private donations to support, maintain and manage the zoo as a self sustaining entity. They could establish a board of directors that recruits and hires managers they select. They could establish other criteria for personnel and proper care of the animals they want to incarcerate. They could charge those that like to smell and gawk at the animals an entry fee sufficient to help pay for having and operating the facility for that purpose. The inability to do this would indicate the majority of citizens don't value having a city zoo.

The time the mayor, the mayors staff and the city council spend dealing with zoo issues could be better utilized on a plethora of more critical issues. I do agree that if the zoo is to exist the incarcerated animals should receive the best possible care but I don't support a penny of tax money being spent to incarcerate innocent animals for the entertainment of a minority of citizens. The city governments only justified role would be to develop and enforce regulations for operating such a facility. It is not appropriate for them to subsidize or fund a zoo.

Zoo or no zoo is not a factor when businesses are deciding to locate or not locate here. I have never been asked by a search firm investigating potential locations for companies seeking a place to build a new facility if there is a zoo in the city. It is not a factor in their decision making process.

February 8, 2011 at 4:43 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...


I agree with harp we should separate zoo from tax dollars; the Bible doesn't list zoos on its list of things for governments to do (terrorize evildoers so doers of good can do whatever goods they choose.) Of course, hotels and magazines and golf courses and schools also don't make the list, and such things should also be privatized.

February 8, 2011 at 6:15 a.m.
fairmon said...


Add to the list of inappropriate ownership Marinas, pharmacies, theatres and an auditorium. These compete with privately owned tax paying businesses. There are probably others we are not aware of or don't recall. One might say our city government manager (mayor) is like the picture many are painting of the manager of the zoo.

I do hope those that disagree have a convincing argument why those that have no value for the zoo should be required to support it and the incarceration of animals.

Those that say things like animals are just as important as humans are not rational. Their skewed values and logic are not consistent with that of most people.

February 8, 2011 at 7:11 a.m.
woody said...

Going out on a limb here..I see that "Hear" and "See" No Evil are still with us and seemingly doing quite well.

However, since "Speak" No Evil has fallen he/she also seemingly left others without a clear consensus on what and what was not appropriate to say on his/her behalf.

"...Ye that are without sin...."


February 8, 2011 at 7:16 a.m.
BobMKE said...

It looks like the monkey on the right had Canadian health care.

February 8, 2011 at 8:51 a.m.
blackwater48 said...

Andrew, I missed where the Bible addressed Zoos. I didn't realize that the Lord took a stance on municipal authority and private enterprise.

You would have made a more compelling argument, IMO, if you pointed out that one of the earliest known zoos, Noah's Ark, was privately funded.

February 8, 2011 at 9:20 a.m.
blackwater48 said...

BobMKE observed: "It looks like the monkey on the right had Canadian health care."

That would have been a blistering indictment of single payer health plans, except Canada has a lower infant mortality rate and a longer life expectancy.

Other than that, good point!

February 8, 2011 at 9:25 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...


Canada does not have the inner city problems that the US does, at least not on the scale that we do. If you take that mess out of the American side I bet the US life expectancy and infant mortality would meet or beat that of Canada or any other of the nations that people like to hold up as an example of how socialized medicine works.

Those same influences will still exist after we finish socializing our health care system. Then we can talk about why it seems to be so much more expensive to operate our version of income redistribution through health care.

February 8, 2011 at 10:37 a.m.
blackwater48 said...

BRP, even if your thesis is correct, that America's "inner city problems" (Republican talking point and thinly veiled reference to 'those people') would prevent a single payer system from working here, that's only your opinion. Is there a way to quantify that? Maybe you prefer old way of having to declare bankruptcy whenever you get sick.

Also enjoyed your other GOP talking point, "redistribution of wealth." Never get tired of that old saw. The redistribution of wealth has been going on for some time now, and he rich in this Country have never been richer.

February 8, 2011 at 10:59 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Woody said: "Going out on a limb here..since "Speak" No Evil has fallen he/she also seemingly left others without a clear consensus on what and what was not appropriate to say on his/her behalf....Ye that are without sin"

The issues surrounding neglect and living things always seem to put you out on a limb. . there is simply no way to avoid it. . . And it always seems to be complicated because the issues surrounding neglect seldom involve actual intent. . . Something else is going on. . . The only way to prevent it from happening in the future is to identify specifically what it is, and do something about it.

February 8, 2011 at 12:29 p.m.
BRT said...

If I where an animal at the zoo I would look at the Aquarium and ask ‘why do the fish have it so good’, our zoo is shameful; for a city that has done so much in the past years I personally find it disgusting our leadership has not taken the same time, money and energy to upgrade/relocate/improve our zoo!

February 8, 2011 at 1:14 p.m.
potcat said...

Jesus Christ how the hell did this conversation go so wrong!Neglect is not complicated. Someone let it happen and knew what the actual outcome would be. Thats deliberate.having been involved with deglected abused animals i can tell you they have a stance and the saddest look. Someone had to have seen this.

February 8, 2011 at 1:21 p.m.
Uhave2bkidding said...

The City Council meeting tonight has been moved to 3 PM as opposed to six oclock. It's being held at the Building off lindsay st like always. It's the city council asking questions and i think the public is allowed to ask questions as well.. PLEASE SHOW UP AND SUPPORT GETTING RID OF THESE SCOUNDRALS!

February 8, 2011 at 1:24 p.m.
pmcauley said...

I just don't get it! Every measure states that the health care system in Canada is better. This study was done at the little known Medical school at Harvard.

Longivity longer; Neonatal death lower; GOVERNMENT costs 1/2 as much; available nurses; docs;

US Does have more MRI's

Canadians only have to worry about getting better NOT whether they can afford it.

Unless you're an insurance company, why would you not support the public health care system, like every other developed country.


February 8, 2011 at 1:25 p.m.
woody said...

Now that I have had a chance to completely wake up, take care of a few errands, and reflect a bit, it may be time to venture back out on my 'personal limb'.

Mtnlrl, you are right in your assessment, of course..but there is always two sides to every story, and I am not really sure we have heard the complete truth here.

I am old enough to have heard many stories concerning neglect, and not always intentional, regarding caged or merely 'collected' animals. And it's always sad.

I always want to do something..within my power of course, but then I am reminded of two very insistent truths.

..first, just like those overnight ads begging me (all of us, actually) to adopt this child or that from some God-forsaken country for merely pennies a day (some where between the cost of a daily newspaper or a cup of coffee). And even if I were one of the richest persons in the world my money still wouldn't scratch the surface of what needed to be done.

..and secondly, everyone can and may find fault with zoos, circuses, sanctuaries, or what-have-you, because "they" are all so 'out there', publicized, and vulnerable. Sort of like orphanages, group homes, foster care and such.

Man, just let one them allow a child get hurt and most of us are ready to crucify them all...Sometimes it's warranted but most often it's not. We simply don't understand all of the 'ins and outs' of running one of these types of more than we understand what might go wrong on any given day regarding the daily upkeep of a collection of animals.

Let us not cast stones until we have all of the facts..and then let us think of something more positive we could do to help.

Keep smiling, Woody

February 8, 2011 at 1:33 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Username: blackwater48 | On: February 8, 2011 at 10:59 a.m.

I never said that a single payer system could not work here. I will say that it will not work as well as the current system has for the majority of Americans.

The “old way” was to pay your medical bills. I know people who have gone through heart problems while not on insurance. One guy is paying 3 monthly installments for three incidents. It is certainly not ideal nor something that I would wish on anyone, but your idea that as soon as you get sick you have to declare bankruptcy is not accurate.

As far as the redistribution has been going on for some time now thing… Yes blackwater, I understand that. You may have noticed that I do not miss an opportunity to point out that the US is no longer so much a capitalist nation as a socialist nation. If you take a list of characteristics of a socialist state and check off all of them that apply to the US, you have pretty much checked off everything on your list.

So in your pride of the progress of socialism in the US please do not forget to recognize how none of the promises of socialism have materialized. When the process of socializing healthcare is complete you will not be able to point to any real progress on that front either.

February 8, 2011 at 1:44 p.m.
alprova said...

We have a Zoo in Chattanooga? Where the heck is it?

February 8, 2011 at 2:16 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Potcat said: "Neglect is not complicated. Someone let it happen and knew what the actual outcome would be. Thats deliberate."

It is complicated if you’re on the outside, which is where most people like Woody and myself are. Some of us might feel that neglect is involved, but we don’t know the exact cause because we’re on the outside. The neglect could be due to detachment, inexperience, failure to prioritize, etc.

If you’re on the inside, of course, the issue becomes less complicated. Indeed, there is a high probability a person may very well know the exact cause. If the cause reflects detachment, you probably need to recruit people who love animals. If the cause is due to inexperience, you need to either provide additional training or recruit people who are more experienced. It the problem is due to failure to prioritize, I’d say you to recruit more responsible management.

February 8, 2011 at 2:20 p.m.
blackwater48 said...

I will apologize in advance for straying off today's important topic. Zoos were around before cars were invented so, besides a refuge for endangered species, their usefulness should be in question.

BRP, I never said, "as soon as you get sick you have to declare bankruptcy." You may have inferred that but it was never implied. EVERYONE who gets sick does not have to sell everything and declare bankruptcy. The fact that a ANYONE ever had to in this Country, the most powerful nation on earth, should infuriate you. But it doesn't. Why is that?

You also said, "You may have noticed that I do not miss an opportunity to point out that the US is no longer so much a capitalist nation as a socialist nation."

You're right about that. You're a one trick pony, but America has NOT fallen into the abyss of socialism yet nor is it about to anytime soon. Capitalism is alive and well. Thriving actually.

According to the New York Times in November of 2010, "American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago.

"Corporate profits have been doing extremely well for a while. Since their cyclical low in the fourth quarter of 2008, profits have grown for seven consecutive quarters, at some of the fastest rates in history."

And despite sending millions of jobs overseas, America remains the number one manufacturing country in the world. We out-produce China by 40%.

The GOP keeps touting how the United States is on the brink of collapse, that Obama has taking us down the road to inevitable catastrophe, but it's all spin. Do we have problems? You bet. Can we do better? No doubt.

But all your doom and gloom the sky is falling we're in the end of days malarkey is getting old. You ignore the slowly improving signs of economic recovery because it doesn't fit your agenda. If you don't like the findings you question the voracity of the report.

I've said it before so, what the heck, once more shouldn't hurt: When a pickpocket meets a Saint he only sees pockets.

February 8, 2011 at 2:30 p.m.
rmodrall said...

With regards to private funding. I have provided the Chattanooga Zoo with spreadsheets with contact information for each and every foundation in five surrounding states and offered to assist with grant writing. While I have been busy academically the last few months and have read of their many challenges throughout this winter season and the transition to FOZ Management I am certain that they have been doing their best. I do believe that an appropriate foundation with a mission similar to their own could be selected and approached which would facilitate their own fundraising efforts and ease any burden on the city and its taxpayers.

February 8, 2011 at 4 p.m.
Clara said...


I'm going to assume these primates are given FRESH fruits and vegetables. I hope the caretaker was not taking advantage of them by using the stuff him or herself. This stuff is expensive.

Starvation, even in a primate, would not occur overnight.

If this is a fact,leaving a torrid zone animal out in the cold is incomprehensible.

I imagine all this will be examined carefully by a panel of vets.

Has it been verified what was the cause of death? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ pm, I seem to actually be agreeing with your post of 1:25 p.m.

February 8, 2011 at 4:34 p.m.
hambone said...

What's a " potcat" ?

And where's Francis?

February 8, 2011 at 5:07 p.m.
canarysong said...


I think Francis and daver had a Muppets reunion they had to attend.

Let me explain.......does anyone recall "The Muppet Show" from the 1970s? There were two old geezer puppets that sat up in the balcony watching the show. They would heckle the guests, complain about everything, and never had a kind word to say. I recently saw a photo of them and it was captioned "the original trolls". SO reminded me of Francis! Now we know what he looks like!

February 8, 2011 at 5:54 p.m.
fairmon said...


Thank you for your efforts to assist friends of the zoo to become self sufficient. It is much easier to tax and spend and require those who do not support incarceration of innocent animals so a few can gawk at them. I expected to hear screams and protest from my post this morning (4:40 a.m.) I was sure someone would convince me that a tax supported zoo was necessary and a good investment. No reaction from any friends of the zoo or others.

My fear is the post about a dead monkey and health care on the same thread. I can see some promoting the expansion of health care to include animals. But, that could be detrimental to the animals, we already pay 100% for their food, shelter and health care for life just like we do people in prison for life.

February 8, 2011 at 6:42 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

I think that Francis accidentally swallowed himself during one of his rants.

February 8, 2011 at 7:50 p.m.
blackwater48 said...

Harp3339 wrote, "My fear is the post about a dead monkey and health care on the same thread." I apologize for my role in this. BobMKE made a comment about the monkey on the right having Canadian health care and I made a comment and then BRP reacted to that and so forth. Animals certainly deserve better than the usually get.

We rescue senior dogs, and it isn't much but we get as good as we give. They're the ones who stay the longest at the Humane Society and they're the ones who want a home the most. It isn't much but it's the best we can do. If everybody did that, all they could, we could solve lots of problems by ourselves.

Canarysong said, "does anyone recall "The Muppet Show" from the 1970s? There were two old geezer puppets that sat up in the balcony watching the show."

Yup. There were named 'Statler and Hilton,' but I don't see any similarity with Francis/Dave(r).

First, you have stuffed empty headed dummies.

The other two are Muppets.

Be careful with those comparisons, CS. Henson Productions could sue.

February 8, 2011 at 8:06 p.m.
trburrows said...

alprova wrote

We have a Zoo in Chattanooga? Where the heck is it?

its at city hall.

clay please tell us here what the cartoon has to do with obamacare?

February 8, 2011 at 8:32 p.m.
sd said...

Harp, I'm with you.

The zoo depressed the hell out of me in the eighties and it still depresses me now (sorry, Friends). I suppose a petting zoo is one thing, as those are domesticated animals that depend on people for survival and are expected to interact with us, but wild animals belong in their natural habitats or sanctuaries and that's it. Not in cages in zoos, not stuffed on people's mantles, not as exotic "pets," etc. etc.

I guess I'm a hypocrite, because I love aquariums, but the creatures at the Tennessee Aquarium don't seem completely miserable, which is definitely the impression I got from most of the animals at the zoo. (I do think the Belugas at the Atlanta Aquarium need a much bigger tank, but that's for another 'toon...)

Part of the problem is animals like apes and elephants live a long time, and humanity (circuses, zoos, pet owners, etc.) messed them up way back in the 70's and 80's. So yeah, maybe those apes have big pens NOW, but we already messed them up when we stuffed them in barred cement shoe boxes for the first decade or two of their lives.

February 8, 2011 at 9:04 p.m.
hambone said...

Have you ever taken a small child to a ZOO?

Going to the Memphis zoo with my grandsons was one of the biggest highlights of my life!

February 8, 2011 at 9:44 p.m.
blackwater48 said...

Trburrows wrote, "clay, please tell us here what the cartoon has to do with obamacare?"

Nothing. A health insurance subplot sprang up almost accidently. The cartoon is Bennett's take on the situation at the Zoo where animals have died recently.

February 8, 2011 at 10:42 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

I'm with you on that, sd. And, alprova, don't go to the is a sad place.

February 9, 2011 at 1:03 p.m.
fairmon said...

hambone why did you visit the Memphis zoo instead of the fine incarceration faciity here. Some animals starve and die in their natural habitat it sounds like the local zoo may carry the natural habitat thing too far.

Do you contribute to "friends of the zoo" so those of us that don't condone the incarceration of wild animals don't have tax money confiscated from us to fund their incarceration and care?

February 9, 2011 at 1:34 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Username: blackwater48 | On: February 8, 2011 at 10:59 a.m. “Maybe you prefer old way of having to declare bankruptcy whenever you get sick.” Username: blackwater48 | On: February 8, 2011 at 2:30 p.m. “I never said, "as soon as you get sick you have to declare bankruptcy."

My are we splitting hairs! Sorry if you think I mischaracterized what you said. It looks to me like I got close enough. You are just throwing distractions around to avoid directly engaging the points, typical.

February 9, 2011 at 8:20 p.m.
esd1970 said...

A real lack of class Mr.Bennett.

March 5, 2011 at 11:27 a.m.
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