Saturday, October 28, 2006

Giving the Feds the Bird

From USA Today:
Feds say Maine restaurant must give up 150-year-old stuffed gull

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Government agents have served notice on a Camden restaurant that the stuffed bird that adorned its upstairs dining room for more than 20 years is illegal.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents, unshaven and clad in camouflage pants and plaid shirts, arrived Thursday at Cappy’s Chowder House to confiscate the 150-year-old greater black backed gull that is mounted under glass and surrounded by an ornate frame.

Gulls have been a federally protected species since 1918, and the agents acted in response to a customer complaint.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act calls for penalties of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for possessing a prohibited species, said Eric Holmes, one of the agents who visited Cappy’s. The law makes no exception for birds acquired before the passage of the treaty act, he said.

The visit was a surprise to Cappy’s owner, Johanna Tutone, who said it never occurred to her that it was illegal to own the stuffed bird she had bought at the auction of a sea captain’s estate. She initially thought that the two visitors who presented badges and identified themselves as federal agents were pulling a prank.

“I thought they were joking,” she said. “I thought any minute someone would come up the stairs and say, ‘Gotcha!’”
Our first question is: what kind of customer would complain about this?

Answer, the same sort of person to would complain to Philosophy Department Chair James South about a Dave Barry quote on a graduate student’s door.

In both cases, the proper response would be “get a life.”


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