Stick around for the chili cook-off." What kind of person would find humor in this suggestion of senseless cruelty? A young pup watching its mother savagely slaughtered is not funny. A wounding bullet could cause weeks of suffering, leading to a painful death. Prairie dogs are family oriented, community minded and intelligent.
They have the most sophisticated (non- human) language known to science. These harmless creatures experience pain and fear, the same as our beloved cats and dogs. Yet, I don't think most people would find the suggestion of a kitten shoot, a puppy shoot or a bald eagle shoot very amusing.
The random slaughter of defenseless animals for no discernible reason and the leaving of carcasses to rot on the ground, gives hunters and sportsmen a bad name. Advocating for the senseless extermination of this important keystone species, threatens the future vitality of the local wildlife community and killing this endangered species, on a wildlife conservation easement is illegal.
I can't help but wonder what tourists think as they view this sick display. Certainly it does not bolster their impression of Telluride as the forward thinking, trend setting, progressive community that we seek to be. Instead they may take this twisted display seriously and cringe in repulsion at a community that would subscribe to the whim of trigger happy sadists. Often, when I am working on the streets of Telluride, tourists ask me to direct them to various types of businesses.
The next time a tourist asks where they can find a T-shirt shop, without hesitation, I will send them to a store that does not shamefully promote cruelty to animals.
- Dan Chancellor