Principal Who Shotgunned to Death Two Kittens at Minnesota School Is Rewarded with Similar Post in Idaho
In the wake of the schoolhouse shootings in Columbine, Nickel Mines, Blacksburg, and elsewhere, some politicians are calling for the arming of teachers and principals as a way to combat the spiraling cycle of violence. Anyone who finds such sophistry persuasive should take a close look at the case of thirty-eight-year-old Wade Pilloud. (See photo below.)
As principal of Indus High School in Minnesota's northern Koochiching County, he was provided with a house trailer on campus. Not liking animals, however, he purchased a shotgun and set kill traps outside his residence.
In a trap allegedly set to capture woodchucks, he snared a skunk and a mother cat last September. Both animals died horrible deaths but the skunk exacted a measure of revenge by leaving his indelible mark on Pilloud's clothing.
He then committed the faux pas of returning to school without properly deodorizing himself where he, predictably, became the butt of a thousand jokes about how he smelled. Enraged by the ridicule, he stalked off the job saying he was quitting and, for good measure, punched a hole in the cafeteria's door on the way out.
Returning to his trailer, he used his shotgun to hideously blow away two five-week-old kittens that had been orphaned by his killing of their mother. Although classes had already adjourned by that time, a volleyball team was practicing nearby and heard the shots.
In December, he was convicted of one count of cruelty to animals and one charge of damaging school property. For killing three cats, countless wild animals, and damaging school property, presiding Judge Chad Leduc sentenced him only to attend anger management classes and to perform a minuscule twenty-four hours of community service. Indus High even gave him $31,000 in severance pay.
Because most parents are particular about the administrators and teachers who oversee the education of their children, Pilloud's crimes should have barred him from ever heading another school. This is America, however, and almost anything goes here.
In some ways it was not surprising therefore when Marsing High School on Idaho's Snake River announced last week that it had hired him as its new principal.
"He seemed very sincere," School Board Chairman David Van Wassenhove told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis on April 24th. (See "Minnesota Principal Who Was Fired After He Shot Kittens Gets Another Post in Idaho.") "He has good qualifications or we wouldn't have hired him."
There is perhaps no issue that generates more envy and disgust than the alarming number of either unqualified or unsuitable individuals who hold high positions in both the public and private sectors. While there is little that can be done about nepotism and tribalism, violent conduct, whether it is directed against animals or people, should disqualify such individuals from holding a job. In Pilloud's case, he belongs in jail, not heading a high school.
This society locks up the homeless, drug users, debtors, perjurers, white-collar thieves, and a myriad of other nonviolent offenders but yet it turns loose homicidal maniacs to kill and kill again. There is something terribly wrong with a society that will not punish violent offenders.
Despite the fact that Pilloud shotgunned the kittens to death in a violent rage precipitated by jokes about how he smelled, he nonetheless insists that he acted out of compassion, i.e., to keep them from dying of starvation. That is pure baloney. If he had been concerned about their welfare he would have attended to their needs, not blown out their brains; after all, it was he who robbed them of their mother in the first place.
Despite his actions, Pilloud insists that he is an ailurophile. "I understand cats, and I like cats. I'm not a cat hater," he declared to the Star Tribune.
Blatant lies of that sort place him on a par with bird lovers, wildlife proponents, PETA, and other ailurophobes who make a living off of killing cats all the while professing their love for the species. (See Cat Defender post of May 1, 2007 entitled "Houston Chronicle Launches Propaganda Offensive on Behalf of Serial Cat Killer Jim Stevenson.")
This case also highlights the urgent need for both kill traps and leghold snares to be banned. These patently cruel and inhumane torture devices should not be used on any animal, wild or domestic. (See Cat Defender posts of August 18, 2005 and December 24, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Brave Orange Tabby Cat Dubbed Hopalong Cassidy Loses Limb to Leghold Trap in British Columbia" and "A Cat Named Trapper Falls Victim to Another Rusty Leghold Trap in British Columbia.")
Equally disturbing is Pilloud's admission that he owns two cats and two dogs. With his violent temper and homicidal urges, it is not difficult to imagine the abuse that he undoubtedly heaps on these unfortunate animals.
Interestingly enough, he claims to have at one time bred Bengal cats. Since the creation of hybrids is fraught with every conceivable kind of cruelty and exploitation imaginable, that admission is just one more proof that Pilloud is not a friend of cats. (See Cat Defender post of April 13, 2007 entitled "Killing and Torturing Wild and Domestic Cats in Order to Create Toygers Is Not Going to Save Sumatran Tigers.")
Marsing High, which has an enrollment of only one-hundred-eighty-three pupils, bans firearms from school grounds and this may prevent a recurrence of what happened at Indus High. It will not, however, put an end to Pilloud's killing and trapping of cats elsewhere.
In a way, Pilloud is in his element now. Idahoans love to kill animals. Moreover, they can hardly wait until gray wolves (See photo above) are removed from federal protection later this year. "I'm prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself," Governor Butch Otter told a cheering crowd of three-hundred hunters gathered in Boise on January 11th. (See Environmental News Network, January 12, 2007, "Idaho Governor Calls for Gray Wolf Kill.")
Reintroduced to the American west from Canada about ten years ago, five-hundred-fifty of the state's estimated six-hundred-fifty wolves are slated for annihilation. No one will be surprised if Pilloud decides to participate in this mass slaughter.
Photos: Naymz (Pilloud) and John and Karen Hollingsworth of U.S. Fish and Wildlife (gray wolf).