Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I have a dilemma and am unsure what to do.

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A few months ago I was offered a job in another state that would have me and my family picking up for what would be a better life. While the idea of moving was frightening, because I’ve lived and raised a family in this one place I called home, this new job would give me stability and growth and help me to get better at my skills as a plumber, with a company and employer that were fans of on-the-job training. So, we closed our eyes and took the leap of faith. We said goodbye to our friends and families and moved to our new home, and better circumstances. It was a good decision, as I immediately saw the financial improvement, was becoming a better tradesman and found the community I had moved into was a compliment to me and my family.

You might be wondering what troubles I could possibly be having. Everyone in my life is in good health, b”H. The house we rented was perfect and lovely and reasonably priced. My wife and children adjusted wonderfully and I made new friends and found the business I was a part of a great fit, partly because of my skill set, eagerness to work and learn and partly because the community I lived in shared my values, making it easy to build my book of business and appreciate my customers.

It’s because of a recent happening that I am reaching out to you for some guidance. Last week, I was sent by my employer to do a repair at a nearby resident’s home. Needless to say, I was certainly pleased, as I would avoid the traffic I was often confronted with at the end of a hard day’s work. Even better, I knew the customer from the neighborhood. I arrived at the customer’s house, exchanged hellos and headed down to the problem area.

The issue this customer was experiencing was pipe-related and the defect was in the basement of the house. Before entering the basement, I bumped into the customer’s son, a big fellow, somewhat odd in how he carried himself. No matter, we’re all different and unique. I should point out that nothing was out of the ordinary; all was usual and customary, as it relates to the job at hand. It was when I went to cut open the clogged pipe that I was confronted with and nearly bitten by a snake, the very cause of the pipe clog to begin with. Stricken with fear and certainly taken by surprise, I lost my footing and stumbled backwards, my body falling against cages housed with tarantula spiders and more snakes. I frantically collected my tools and ran out of that house as quickly as I could, only to run face-first into a spider web on my way out of the basement. I imagine you and/or your readers have seen a horror movie at some point in your life. This incident represented a real life horror experience. To come face to face with what I assume was a poisonous snake and then encounter more of the same when I fell backwards, was terrifying.

As I mentioned above, my dilemma – is what to do now? I’m rather torn, as I think all of those dangerous animals should be addressed, as the son, who I assume the animals belong to, has made no effort to cage them properly and created a dangerous situation for others. On the other hand, maybe I’m overreacting and the matter is none of my business and I should leave it alone. Some help here would be greatly appreciated, as I’d feel just awful if someone, worse, a child, gets hurt, because of me minding my own business.

 

Dear Friend,

Every time I think I’ve heard and seen it all, someone like yourself comes along and grabs first place! Please don’t think I am trivializing your dilemma, I am definitely not. I understand your fear, especially having experienced coming face to face with a serpent where one should not have been and then being further traumatized when in your haste to escape, you inadvertently knocked over cages and tanks that held other snakes, spiders and various other creepy, crawly and slithery things. I also understand your concern for children and older people who, when faced with your experience, may suffer life altering reactions let alone the risk to life and limb if these creatures are poisonous and if one should escape and make its way into a backyard or a home. I also understand your wanting to report this person for keeping such creatures as pets thus giving rise to the desire to reach out to the authorities to investigate and confiscate his undesirable pets.

Before you do anything, I would caution you to calm down, take a step back and consider a few important facts. Most domestically kept pet serpents, spiders, lizards etc., are generally non-poisonous, completely harmless and not against the law to be kept as pets by a select group of people who enjoy having them as pets. They generally keep them away from the public for fear of just such a reaction as yours. I would have you recall that you invaded that space when you went down into the basement, otherwise you might not ever have known or seen the reptile/spider menagerie. There is also the issue of mesirah, were you to report this man before you were absolutely sure that his creatures were indeed harmful to mankind or illegal in any way. Be very careful how you address this because this may come back to bite you faster than a wayward spider.

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