Buddhists Free Seafood From Chinatown, Pets Not So Lucky

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It's been a crazy week for the city’s critters, from great escapes to abductions and death. We’ll start with the good news: On Sunday, a group of Amitabha Buddhists hoping to boost their karma [released a scale-raising $7000 worth of seafood] into the polluted PassaicRiver in New Jersey. The hundreds of frogs, eels and turtles were purchased from Chinatown food shops and had likely been destined for dinner plates. “When I pass by the fish market, I cry,” Ann Chin, one member of the group, told the Herald News of West Paterson. “I tell people: ‘Stop killing them.’ Then: ‘Don't eat them.’ Then your heart goes to mercy.” But the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is [less than pleased](http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/08/14/ap4018020.html) with the Zen-ists Free Willy-style rescue mission. The department is concerned that the foreign organisms could disrupt the river’s natural ecosystem—if they even survive at all—and has threatened to fine the perpetrators up to $1000 for releasing the wildlife without a permit. “We're dead-set against it. It's even illegal to stock any kind of carp or goldfish in New Jersey in a place with an inlet or an outlet,” one DEP biologist said.

Meanwhile, in Long Island, burglars broke into the [Parrots of the World] pet store in Rockville Centre and made off with [45 high-priced parrots worth an estimated $60,000](http://www.nypost.com/seven/08152007/news/regionalnews/pet_pooh_bahs_parrots_pilfered_regionalnews_selim_algar.htm). The store's owner, [Marc Morrone](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Morrone), happens to be a regular on Martha Stewart's TV and radio shows, where he serves as an animal-care expert. The thieves even seem to have ruffled the feathers of the bigwig herself. “She called me this morning,” Morrone told the Post. “She was hysterical like I was.” The parrots, he said, require special food and care and could die if they become overstressed. Now, we don’t want to speculate, but that does lead you to wonder whether Chin also cries every time she passes by a pet store, doesn’t it? We’ll have to keep our eyes peeled for pricey parrots flying around Jersey. There could be rewards.

Finally, in even sadder news, authorities stumbled upon [23 dead dogs and cats in the garage] of a $3 million mansion in Saddle River, New Jersey. Some of the rotting animals, they said, had been dead for more than a year. Inside, they found 62 live cats and six dogs living in feces and on floors with pet food reportedly piled as high as ten inches in spots. The homeowners could face animal cruelty charges. Maybe the Buddhists should have goner after the puppies instead.

Photo courtesy of [jmax@flickr on Flickr]

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