Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"What are you doing? You better not hurt that little bat." "Animals can't feel pain."

Two nights ago, we discovered that we have mice in our apartment. We had just moved out of a place that had a huge mouse problem, and we were hoping never to face it again. However, after only a few weeks in our place, we had our hopes crushed.

Yesterday, Mrs. Debator set some sticky traps around the house. We used traps designed for mice, as well as some designed for rats. (The rat ones are bigger and stickier.) After a night of listening to the pitter-patter of disease-ridden feet, I woke up to check the traps and lo and behold, we had caught a mouse on one of the rat traps. Its tail and back feet were stuck to the trap and it had been using its front feet to try to free itself. Apparently it had been at this quite awhile because the mouse had successfully moved the trap several inches. Despite his efforts, he had been unable to free himself.

I was now faced with the task of disposing of it. Being the humane person that I like to hide from people, I wanted to put it out of its misery so it wouldn't spend the last hours or days of its life stuck to a plastic trap, alone in the dark, and starving until it finally died surrounded by the stench of human waste. In our last apartment when we had caught a mouse on a sticky trap, I wanted to put it out of its misery in a human way so I trapped it under a tupperware and put cotton balls doused with various chemicals inside. I tried ammonia, ammonia mixed with bleach cleaner, and rubbing alcohol with no success. So, I just turned the tupperware upside down with the mouse still in it, put it in a bag, and dropped it down the trash chute that went directly to mouse hell. Once something goes down that chute, it's gone. (This was very nice for poopy diapers.) Unfortunately, living in a house with a garbage can that I have to take out once a week, I don't have that luxury.

Not seeing any other options, I decided to shoot the poor guy with my pellet gun. I picked up the trap and took it outside where I set it on the lawn. It was a chilly morning and the sun had not yet come up over the mountains. That's right, I was going to shoot this mouse at dawn. I retrieved my gun from inside and loaded it. I saw that the mouse was still desperately trying to get off the trap and had in the process gotten his front two feet and left side stuck as well. I could see his chest rapidly heaving up and down as he struggled to get free. He was obviously scared. I said, "It will all be over soon, little guy." I pumped my gun 10 times and aimed. I couldn't see him very clearly through the scope because I was so close, but I could see his brown shape in the sight. I centered the crosshair on his head, hesitated and fired.

I lowered the gun and looked. He was still there, wiggling and trying to get free. I had missed. Crap. I loaded again, took aim and fired. Miss. Again. Miss. So I went and inspected the trap. There were several holes immediately beneath the mouse. I was missing, but not by much. I knew that if I aimed just a little higher, I would kill him. I reloaded, pumped up the gun and aimed. I still couldn't see clearly through the scope, but I could clearly see his outline. I found his thrashing head in the scope and took aim just above the head. I hesitated. Before, when I was missing, it was easy to keep taking shots because each time I fired I felt that there was less and less of a chance of me hitting him. But now, I knew that I would hit him - I had done it hundreds of times before on inanimate targets. I looked at his dim outline through my scope, held my breath and fired.

It was a hit. And it was gruesome. I saw the mouse on the trap, bewildered and struggling to get free - to just run away from this torment and hide where no predator could find him. I saw him there, bleeding from his neck. At first it was just a drop, then more and more. It was forming a dark red puddle on the trap. I was sick. I had set out to give this animal a humane end to his life, but instead I forced him to spend his last moments trapped, confused, and bleeding to death. I couldn't bear it. I reloaded, took careful aim and fired. When I lowered the gun, he was still. There was no visible wound from the second shot but I didn't want to inspect further. I had chills going down my back and I was weak with sickness from what I had seen. I had killed a living thing whose only crime was to seek refuge and food in my warm home.

I found a grocery bag and placed the trap inside. Blood stained the grass as I moved the trap into the bag. I quickly placed the bag in the garbage can hoping that my feelings could go with it. But I don't have an emotional trash shoot where I can send my anguish. I can only deal with it as best I can and that's by playing Rainbow Six Vegas. Rainbow Six, you ease the pain.


Kirsten said...

It's great to hear that you actually do have a heart. I sympathize. But now I know not to trust to you take out any of my enemies.

Daniel said...

Kirsten, Kirsten. *I* would never have taken out any of your enemies - it leaves too much evidence. But, if your enemies were to disappear or meet other unfortunate ends, you can rest assured that I did not personally kill them. Nope, I didn't pull the trigger.