Friday, July 01, 2005

Nothing But the Smell of Live Animals

The Pittsburgh Zoo has become a much more pleasant place to visit:

The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium is about to go smokeless.

As a few parents and children drummed up support outside the zoo for a smoke-free environment Wednesday, zoo officials were voting to ban smoking on the premises. When the ban will begin has yet to be determined.

My family doesn't go on many outdoor activities mainly because the outdoors seem to be places for smokers to congregate. My wife is allergic to the smoke, and I find it quite irritating as well. At times I find myself having to suppress a primal urge to beat the crap out of anyone smoking near me.

We have a family membership to the Pittsburgh Zoo, but we haven't used it often enough. The sights, sounds, and even the smells at the Zoo are wonderful -- until we run into smokers. Yes, even the animal dung is less annoying than the cigarette smoke.

On our most recent trips to Kennywood Park, we have had to put up with standing in line next to people smoking, even though the park has banned smoking in the lines (there are still designated areas for smokers). There was no one to complain to. If we had gone to find someone to whom we could complain, we would have lost our place in line. Somehow I doubt that the park has people going around busting people for smoking in line. I just had to deal with it and hope to high heaven that my wife wasn't going to throw up on me.

The Zoo has similar concerns:
"The biggest challenge is the enforcement," said Rachel Capp, the zoo's spokeswoman. "We're going to form a committee to see how we're going to do that." Capp said the zoo considered the measure after seeing that other zoos have been able to enforce the ban effectively.
Here's some enforcement for you: If I go to the Zoo and see someone smoking, I might be inclined to make a sort of "citizen's arrest" and toss the SOB into the tiger pit. And hope that the kitties don't choke on his lungs.

Based on this bit of news, I expect to be taking my family to the Zoo more often this year. Which reminds me, it's time to renew my membership. Let's see if I can't get the jagoffs to spell my name correctly this time.

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