From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1994:
The call came late November 16. Westchester Wildlife Sanctuary rehabilitator
Barry Rothfuss needed help in placing a five-foot-long, cross-tempered female cayman, a
close relative of a crocodile, who’d spent her whole life in a pet store aquarium. He’d taken
her in to keep the proprietor from shooting her, as she’d grown too dangerous to handle.
“I can keep her maybe 24 hours,” Rothfuss explained, his six-month-old daughter
in his lap and the cayman nearby, her mouth held shut with duct tape. “I’m not set up to
keep a high-risk animal, or any animal who needs a heated environment, and I don’t know
anything about caymans, but I thought I could at least give her one more chance.”
Two years ago Rothfuss spent a month dodging the law with a few dozen orphaned
raccoons he had immunized against rabies. The New York wildlife department had ordered
rehabilitators to euthanize all raccoons in their possession, ostensibly to slow the spread of
rabies. Rothfuss hid out until he could get the message across that his raccoons were no
threat––and wound up appointed to the state advisory commission on rabies.