Just have to vent a bit. About a month ago, hubby and I decided we wanted a Russian tortoise. Since then, we've been preparing a habitat (Russians are a bit hard to find so we couldn't get one immediately). Hubby has done tons and tons of research on exactly the best way to care for them, etc.

Well, yesterday I located a place 2 hours from here that had captive bred Russians for sale. So this morning I got up early and drove. I get there and pick out my tortoise, and get out my credit card for purchase.

It is at this point that the shakedown begins. They tell me they can't give me a 30-day guarantee on the animal (which costs $130) unless I bring in the "habitat" for them to inspect. I explain that I live 2 hours away and honestly don't want to drive that far; what if I buy the tortoise, go home, and email them a photo?

Nope, that's not okay. We discuss a bit more and finally these two teenagers running the store decide that it would be okay if I just TOLD them what our setup looked like and bought a UV lamp, which is the main thing. Okay, fine.

But as soon as I start describing the setup, they start finding fault. No, my substrate is wrong. $10 for new substrate. No, my lamp is not the exact distance away it should be. $40 for new lamp. No, I don't need a water dish because tortoises ignore water and I will have to periodically dip it in water myself (wtf?! patently false). No, the UV lamp is not good enough for heat. No, a 60-watt bulb is wrong; you need a 50-watt. Etc. etc. etc.

At this point I'm getting really pissed off because some of the stuff they're telling me I KNOW is wrong, but I look like a complete doofus because my husband's the one with all the technical knowledge and I'm sure this substrate isn't right, but I can't explain why. Finally, I make a couple of phone calls to the hubby and I walk out of there with a tortoise, a bag of substrate, and an $80 lamp (the kind we use, so it's not a complete waste, but I could get it for $50 online).

What ticks me off is, even if I don't have the exact setup necessary, the tortoise is NOT going to die in 30 days (unless he's already sick, in which case they should refund my money). Most of this stuff we're talking about improves overall longevity. And you know what? If my tortoise only lives 50 years instead of the maximum 75, I'm still gonna consider that pretty good. So them requiring all this stuff is just bullshit.

And the big issue here is why anyone considers it their business what I do with my pets. I've noticed that the local pet-adoption agencies now require things like "walk throughs" on your home to make sure you have everything okay for the cat or dog. Even worse, the cat adoption agencies are now requiring you to promise that you will keep all cats INDOORS. Frankly, I consider that animal abuse. I know some cats are okay with it, but my cat would wither and die if he were locked indoors. It just drives me crazy that they can require all of this crap for animals - ANIMALS! I'm sorry, I love them, but they're NOT PEOPLE. Do we require walk-throughs for people to have kids? No. Because it's nobody's business.

Now, I'm against animal abuse - but as long as I'm feeding the damn tortoise, and I'm not raising him for soup, IT'S NOBODY'S DAMN BUSINESS.