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Aussie boy breaks into zoo, feeds animals to croc

October 03, 2008 9:52 AM EDT SYDNEY, Australia - A 7-year-old boy broke into a popular Outback zoo, fed a string of animals to the resident crocodile and bashed several lizards to death with a rock, the zoo's director said Friday.

The 30-minute rampage, caught on the zoo's security camera, happened early Wednesday after the boy jumped a security fence at the AliceSprings Reptile Center in central Australia, said zoo director Rex Neindorf.

The child then went on a killing spree, bashing three lizards to death with a rock, including the zoo's beloved, 20-year-old goanna, which he then fed to "Terry," an 11-foot, 440-pound saltwater crocodile, said Neindorf.

The boy also fed several live animals to Terry by throwing them over the two fences surrounding the crocodile's enclosure, at one point climbing over the outer fence to get closer to the giant reptile.

In the footage, the boy's face remains largely blank, Neindorf said, adding: "It was like he was playing a game."

By the time he was done, 13 animals worth around $5,500 had been killed, including a turtle, bearded dragons and thorny devil lizards, Neindorf said. Although none were considered rare, some are difficult to replace, he said.

"We're horrified that anyone can do this and saddened by the age of the child," Neindorf said.

Alice Springs police said they are unable to press charges against the boy because of his age. Children under age 10 can't be charged with criminal offenses in the Northern Territory. His name was not released because of his age.

Neindorf said he plans to sue the boy's parents.

The boy's small size is probably the reason he didn't trip the zoo's security system, which relies on sensors to detect intruders, Neindorf said.

"I just want people to learn that they can't let their children go and run amok," Neindorf said. "If we can't put the blame onto the child, then someone has to accept the responsibility."

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Kids mimic what they learn at home.

That's a scary thought!

C

So what are you saying Cole; that they have crocodile Dundee feeding sessions at his house?

There is a strong mimic component in all of us, but kids at 7 are capable of instigating interpretative action based on what the see, or think they understand. The problem could be anything from Attention Deficit syndrome through to lack of parental guidance. Of course some will say that he might just be a very naughty boy with an overactive imagination. The reality of his actions may not even have registered on his consciousness, but that again gets back to lack of parental guidance and supervision.

I set fire to the neighbour's overgrown back yard at the age of 8 because I wanted to see how it would burn, after I heard my parents saying that, "...it would only take a match to set fire to the whole back yard." They were right. The fire engines were really terrific too.

Of course I was aware that you don't go hurting living creatures and that is the lesson which seems to have gone astray with the boy.

However peer group pressure can also persuade kids to do silly (and wrong things) despite even good parenting.

I am wondering if he was "challenged" to do the deed.

I doubt that he may just have been bored, even taking into account the isolation of a town like Alice Springs, but he may have been reacting in a rebellious manner over some other incident in his life.

If he witnessed someone clubbing his pet (lizard, cat, puppy, etc.) and witnessed the remains thrown over a fence, maybe, into a river, then his action may be a rebellious, even a vengeful one, the result of far reaching emotional influences that will seriously scar the development of his human sensitivity.

Parents (and others) do such things as depriving a child of a pet, to "toughen the kids up". If something along these lines happened it would explain some of the circumstances surrounding the boys actions. The problem is I doubt anyone will look that deeply.

For further consideration see the play or movie Equus by Peter Shaffer; or even the repercussions of depriving a boy of his toy as happened in Citizen Kane.

These are just some of the scenarios that occur to me over this hapless and sad event.

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I refuse to hold all Aussies responsible for the actions of one disturbed child.

Just as I would hope that people in other countries don't judge us all by the actions of our President Curious George.

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I refuse to hold all Aussies responsible for the actions of one disturbed child.

Just as I would hope that people in other countries don't judge us all by the actions of our President Curious George.

Thanks for that James. I can assure you we do not judge the American people on the basis of one man being a bit curious.

Most of us are subject to the whims of curious politicians, and they are getting curiouser and curiouser. :omg:

I am thinking of starting a new political party called "The Mad Hatters Tea Party." With a name like that, we would at least have an excuse for being a bit daft. (I was going to say daffy, but that is unfair to a certain duck. :shame:

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I refuse to hold all Aussies responsible for the actions of one disturbed child.

Just as I would hope that people in other countries don't judge us all by the actions of our President Curious George.

Well said, James, that was my thought exactly. America certainly has developed its own crowd of defective and/or wacked out people, as recent history can certainly bear witness.

I personally suspect this is the end result of the attitude amongst some parents that the state is responsible for raising their offspring, and that they, themselves, have no responsibility for setting rules/limits, and for modeling proper behavior. Of course, it could also be the result of the parents being defective themselves, for whatever reason: drugs, abusive backgrounds, etc. Having said that, we've all seen cases where even the most loving and supportive of families can produce sociopaths.

It is a sad commentary on the world we live in that we produce such people in the numbers we do.

Rick

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Well said, James, that was my thought exactly. America certainly has developed its own crowd of defective and/or wacked out people, as recent history can certainly bear witness.

I personally suspect this is the end result of the attitude amongst some parents that the state is responsible for raising their offspring, and that they, themselves, have no responsibility for setting rules/limits, and for modeling proper behavior. Of course, it could also be the result of the parents being defective themselves, for whatever reason: drugs, abusive backgrounds, etc. Having said that, we've all seen cases where even the most loving and supportive of families can produce sociopaths.

It is a sad commentary on the world we live in that we produce such people in the numbers we do.

Rick

You're absolutely right Rick. We, like every other country on this planet, produce our wackos. But, it's deceiving to focus on those alone. Take a look at the non-profit world to see the millions of people helping people. It's comforting to finally realize that our world revolves around our volunteers, caregivers and...people who care about others. And we can't just forget those who are the wackos either. They still need our help.

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