Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

July 12, 2012

Letter: Wildlife, nature among the features that make Andover special

Wildlife, nature among the features that make Andover special

Editor, Townsman:

In response to the letter published last week by a resident (and her cat "Fur Face" - bless him!) who did not welcome the wildlife in town as she had to keep her cat indoors; I say that the main reason I enjoy living in Andover is absolutely because of the "off chance" I may see a fisher, coyote, deer or wild turkeys in or around my property or town. If it so happens that your letter was merely a witty observation, then I think the idea of the government reasoning with the local wildlife to show them the error of their ways would be a great Ricky Gervais or Saturday Night Live skit.

I own a 45-pound dog and chickens and although some locals have said, "Aren't you afraid of the coyotes?" we let them free range. Our dog has a life basking in the sun, and is even being trained to "leave the wild bunnies." My chickens are regularly dive-bombed by passing hawks during which my 5-year-old son runs outside screaming "hawk alert"; the hawk remains in shock at how huge they are and the poultry continue with their chickenly duties. We have talked as a family about the life we want our animals to lead and have decided that a fulfilled life for us and our "brood" includes letting them free range, but preparing ourselves that their carefree life may (but most likely will not) come at a cost.

I would love to have 17 wild turkeys relieving themselves on my otherwise unfertilized lawn. What fabulous fertilizer and such a unique and interesting animal. I would give anything for my two young children to see that sight.

We wish there were more deer in our area and the only fisher cat we have seen was squashed on our road. As a past cat owner I understand your concerns about letting your cat out to roam but if it makes you feel any better, think about all the wildlife that cats hunt when they are out. Cats' natural instincts are to hunt but once they were domesticated then our smaller wildlife became vulnerable - the main reason why no matter how much I love them I can't own a cat again (perhaps a hamster or hermit crabs next time?).

Enjoy this town for all the natural beauties it has. I have lived in many different places around the world but I am settled here as it is a very special place indeed. Cherish any animal sightings, as they are becoming less frequent in populated areas, and feel very lucky indeed.

Amy Smith

115 Lovejoy Road

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