We have armadillos. They're rooting around every night in what I jokingly refer to as my lawn, looking for grubs or spare change or God knows whatever else. I thought armadillos were a Texas phenomenon, maybe named after the city. But here they are in the Sunshine State, rooting. I have been casting about for a solution.
The first thing I learned is that Florida has some disturbingly stringent laws against armadillo cruelty. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for that. In fact, I was the first to applaud when they recently arrested some poor feller down here for siccing his Doberman on an armadillo. Siccing is outlawed. No matter: I only have cats, and they don't sic worth a damn.
Having once been sworn to uphold the law - an obligation that I think is binding only in Connecticut, by the way - l figured I would capture the little bastards in one of those Hav-A-Hart contraptions and haul them up to Tate's neighborhood in Odessa, where they could frolic and root in the relative wilds of north Tampa. Let the free-range armadillos feast on John's grubs. That's when I learned about the declaration.
The State of Florida has declared armadillos an "invasive species" - as if I didn't know that already from the snout-holes in my yard. You might think that declaration helpful to my cause in that an officially-declared invasive species would be fair game for relentless extirpation. But you would be wrong. That extirpation theory applies only to Latinos. Armadillos hail from Texas and are Americans like the rest of us. Most of us. (How did this get political?). Anyway, like any government act, the armadillo declaration bears unintended consequences.
Here's my options under the law, and they are not good. I am allowed to trap the armadillos, but after that it gets complicated. There's only two things I can do with armadillos in a cage. One, I can open the door and let them go free, right where I just trapped them. Or, two, I can kill them. Humanely, of course. What I may not do is move the armadillos to a more armadillo-friendly part of Florida. In other words, intrastate transportation of an armadillo is a punishable offense. Why do they call it "Hav-A-Hart" when all you can do is free the little bastards or shoot them?
Wait up - I can't even shoot the armadillos because we live cheek-by-jowl here in Pinellas County, so shooting is generally reserved for indoor activities and the occasional Democrat (another invasive species, albeit undeclared). And I can't sic the cats on them. Moreover, the county animal control officers refuse to deal with armadillos, unless of course you sic something on one.
It's enough to make one contemplate civil disobedience. Look out, John, you may be having some late-night visitors.