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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, May 14 1997
Silence of the Lambs
Out at the S.F. Zoo, the cops are on a stakeout and the sheep are nervous. It all started Jan. 26, when a keeper found two Jacob sheep roaming free inside the Children's Zoo barn. The keeper said one of them, Chips, looked "shaky," and was acting spooked, odd behavior for a petting-zoo animal. The keeper got really suspicious when she noticed Chips was straining to urinate. Later that morning, the ewe was turned over to the vet hospital.

"The vulva was reddened and very tender," says Staff Veterinarian Freeland Dunker. He says the vet who saw Chips "suspects vaginal trauma," but couldn't be certain because a vaginal swab did not turn up any semen.

Although circumstantial evidence points to bestiality, Dunker says he'd need more physical signs to prove that's the case. If bestiality were the verdict, it wouldn't be the first time a human sexually assaulted a zoo animal. Four years ago, a keeper found a half-naked man inside the same barn with sheep loose and a tied-up pony lying on its side. Inside the vagina of one of the sheep, vets found circumferential tears, which indicated the animal had been forcibly entered by some object or piece of anatomy so large as to do harm. The man fled and was never caught.

Even though vets didn't find any tears in Chips' vagina, General Curator David Robinett says the zoo staff has treated the case like an assault. Police advised the zoo to beef up late-night security, brighten the lighting around the barn, install tougher locks, and keep quiet about the incident so they could investigate.

On the night of Jan. 26, police say they stymied a break-in on zoo grounds without catching a suspect, but declined to elaborate, citing an ongoing investigation. Capt. Michael Yalon would say only that the police currently have "operations inside and outside the zoo," some evidence, and "leads that we continue to work on."

Jane Ballentine, of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association in Bethesda, Md., says she's never heard of bestiality at a U.S. zoo, but adds that the association doesn't keep such statistics. Robinett says he too was caught off guard: "This world is a strange place."

-- J.S.

Oh, That Pesky Bougainvillea
Well and good that Arlie Hochschild (wife of Mother Jones co-founder Adam) is out with The Time Bind, her new study that indicates middle- and upper-class working women are finding more satisfaction at work than at home. Arlie's study found that the domestic chores working women face at day's end -- crying babies, dirty laundry, and sinks filled with dishes -- are as dreary as ever, but their professional duties are more engaging than once was the case. Unlike so many pop sociologists of the higher classes, Hochschild does actual research. And she's a part-time prof at UC Berkeley, to boot.

But then the Chronicle's Laura Evenson knocked on Hochschild's front door, looking for some upper-half color for the profile she wrote about Hochschild in the Chron's May 11 Sunday section. Evenson tried to draw an analogy between pressing demands in the domestic lives of Hochschild's subjects and Arlie and Adam's privileged existence. The results were laughable.

"[C]hores are shared or 'outsourced,' " Evenson writes. They send the laundry out. Arlie is the one to "pick up the dog poop and vacuum." And Adam? He "clips and trains the bougainvillea" and shops and cooks. A cleaning service comes in once a week. They've won matching Fulbrights to travel to India and in their spare time discuss books with noted writers. Both Hochschilds had the wit to point out that neither she (daughter of a diplomat) nor he (heir to a mining fortune) ever faced the difficulties encountered by the women Hochschild studied. Too bad they didn't have the wit to stop Evenson at the door.


About The Authors

Phyllis Orrick


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