What if animals really had rights?

Zoo De-Wourmed 

What if animals really had rights?

Zoo de-Wourmed: Police arrested Kansas City Zoo Director Mark Wourms at his office Tuesday after Savannah, a thirteen-year-old Asian elephant, was found stabbed to death in her enclosure. Bloody footprints had led police to the house Wourms shares with his mother near Swope Park.

Wourms, suspected of being the country's worst serial animal killer since William Cody, covered his face as police led him past a mob of crying children who had come to pet the zoo's Atlantic stingrays, eight of whom died in June in an apparent middle-of-the-night killing spree.

When police arrived at the Wourms home with a search warrant, they found a bloody knife, a bottle of arsenic and, next to a Commodore 64 console in his bedroom, a "trophy wall" of clippings from Kansas City Star articles about various zoo deaths during Wourms' tenure.

"Ewww," shuddered one docent as she shoveled gazelle manure out of Africa. "Even his name is creepy. Wourms."

For months, officials had covered for Wourms. Last Wednesday, when spokeswoman Beth Paulsen discussed the zoo's weekly animal murder, she disclosed only that a sheep was mauled by "another animal" that had sneaked into the Australia exhibit. Later, she blamed unnamed "dogs."

Police said that in the month leading up to the arrest, Wourms had been getting bolder and sloppier. He'd publicly ordered the beheading of 213 Canada geese by game wardens, deeming the birds a "nuisance" because "they always shit everywhere, and little kids slip and fall on it." He said, "It's really time to off those little mothers. I only wish I could be the one to do it!"

Investigators are exhuming the body of Pasha, a twelve-year-old snow leopard who recently died inexplicably, so forensic pathologists can conduct toxicological tests.

"I can't believe someone like that could get a job at a zoo," marveled Vivian Jones, 89, as her four-year-old grandson, Rodney, licked his cotton candy in front of a tank of emperor penguins.

A distraught zookeeper tearfully berated herself.

"I knew the gorillas were trying to tell me something!" she sobbed, explaining that since Wourms' arrival at the zoo, Smokey, a 350-pound lowland gorilla trained in American sign language, had been signing "death," "scary," "kill us all" and "badman."

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