Peacock death: cruel or justified?

Oh, I’m sure this has happened to you.

You’re annoyed with the feral cats in your neighborhood that keep overturning your trash bins or pooping on your geraniums. Or you can’t stand the constant croaking of the invasive coqui frogs outside your window. Or you’ve just about lost it on your neighbor whose dogs bark for hours while she’s not at home.

But would you actually take matters in your own hands, grab a baseball bat and bludgeon the animal to death?

That’s what Susan Maloney did in May 2009, when she took a bat and whacked a peacock outside her condominium. She was tired of its constant squawking and considered cooking the peafowl for dinner.

Her outrageous actions didn’t warrant a conviction, though, as a jury on Friday found her not guilty on charges of second-degree cruelty to animals.

Afterward, the 70-year-old Maloney told reporters she felt vindicated by the verdict. She says her other reaction was that “it’s going to be open season on peacocks and it’s probably past time.”

Don’t get me wrong: anything that makes a noise constantly — a peacock, dogs, even an abandoned iPhone with an alarm that wasn’t turned off — can be annoying. But I don’t think I’d go so far as to beat the creature to death.

But what was Maloney supposed to do? Complain to her condo board? (All you condo dwellers know how unproductive that can be.) Call the Hawaiian Humane Society?

It’s a tough call. But the real question is: Is what Maloney did considered animal cruelty? And should we be worried so much about people who kill pests versus those who kill, oh, say, humans? Is life still life? Or has our society become warped in what we deem is wrong?

You tell me.


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