Bouquets and Brickbats

Animals don’t make good prizes

letters@thetribunenews.comAugust 2, 2013 

Here's one of the red-eared slider turtles that were being given out as carnival game prizes before they were confiscated from the California Mid-State Fair on Thursday.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

Sure, eensy-weensy turtles are cute, in a reptilian sort of way. And they don’t take up nearly as much room in a carnival booth as giant stuffed pandas. But not only was it illegal for a carnival game operator to give away undersized turtles as prizes at the Mid-State Fair, it also put the “winners” in serious jeopardy, because the turtles’ droppings contain salmonella.

Fortunately, most of the turtles — 65 of the approximately 100 brought to the fair — wound up in the custody of county Animal Services, which planned to turn them over to a turtle rescue operation.

Meanwhile, the man in charge of the carnival game, 41-year-old Steve John Lopez of Napa, could face a fine of up to $1,000. To that, we’ll add a booby prize of shell-shaped brickbats for Lopez and for Davis Enterprises, the Fontana-based company that operates the carnival. A spokesman for Davis Enterprises told us the organization thought the turtles were “OK” to distribute as prizes, as long as they were of legal size.

No, not OK! Adopting pets — and, yes, turtles and goldfish qualify — is a responsibility that requires foresight, preparation and commitment, and should have nothing to do with how skillfully someone can toss a pingpong ball at acounty fair.

From now on, Mid-State Fair officials need to ensure that game operators stick to handing out stuffed animals — whether they’re pandas or some other breed.

Auctioned livestock put to good use

Thanks to a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit foundation, needy SLO County families will have more fresh protein on their tables.

The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation purchased many of the 767 animals sold last weekend at the Mid-State Fair’s Junior Livestock Auction. The organization has been buying animals at livestock auctions at the Santa Barbara and Ventura county fairs for years. This was the second time the nonprofit also included the Mid-State Fair.

The meat will be donated to the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County, which in turn will distribute it to nonprofit agencies that provide hot meals and other food aid to low-income residents.

What a great way to help local nonprofits provide high-quality protein for their clients and, at the same time, to ensure that young 4-H and FFA members recoup the cost of raising animals to show at the fair. For that, we offer the foundation a beautiful set of matching bouquets.

Fish and Game to visit the county

We took the state Fish and Game Commission to task for failing to meet in San Luis Obispo County when it was considering a controversial proposal to allow bear hunting here.

Now that the commission does plan to convene here — the meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at Embassy Suites on Madonna Road — we thought it only fitting to toss it a welcome-to-SLO-town bouquet.

Bear hunting is not on the agenda, by the way, but should it ever be back on the table, we’ll kindly ask the commissioners to pay us another visit.

San Diego mayor needs to go

Finally, our pervert-of-the-week brickbat goes — not to Anthony Weiner this time — but to San Diego mayor and serial harasser Bob Filner.

Amid demands that he step down, Filner announced that he would enter an intensive two-week therapy program and would then return to focus on “being the best mayor Ican be and the best person I must be.”

Two weeks? Seriously? That’s barely enough time to get caught up on “Breaking Bad” before the final season starts. And Filner expects to emerge a reformed man in that time? He needs to go — and he should take Weiner with him.

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