Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

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Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby PictureSarah » Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:13 pm UTC

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/10/08/cactus ... index.html

So, we've microchipped our cats and dogs in animal shelters for a while, so that after they're adopted, if they are lost, we will be able to tell who they belong to or what shelter they came from. Now we're evidently microchipping cactuses to help track them down when people steal them. I'm saddened by this. What is so fucking hard about leaving the cactus in the ground?
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Hawknc » Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:24 pm UTC

Possibly the most confusing part about this news is why people would steal cacti in the first place.

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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Woofsie » Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:31 pm UTC

A 2000 census of the two districts making up the Saguaro National Park outside Tucson estimated that there were 1.3 million saguaros there.

The number of saguaros statewide is anyone's guess.


The largest theft at the park occurred last year, when 17 saguaros were dug up and stashed for transportation later. The culprits were caught, but Love said there have been other cases where three to five plants have been taken at a time.


This really doesn't seem like that big an issue - certainly not enough to justify the cost of microchipping. Does anyone really notice when 3-5 out of 1.3 million plants go missing?

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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby clintonius » Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:34 pm UTC

Do you need to ask?
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Oct 11, 2008 6:27 pm UTC

If I were a billionaire and you stole a thousand dollars from me, it'd still be theft even if it wouldn't actually hurt me terribly.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby clintonius » Sat Oct 11, 2008 6:36 pm UTC

I think the bigger issue, though, is proportionality. If you were a billionaire, would it be reasonable to put microchips in your dollar bills (the analogy is falling apart, I know)? They're either going to spend a ludicrous amount of money and time imbedding the chips in lots of cacti, or they're going to do it randomly and in such a way that it may or may not be effective.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Soralin » Sat Oct 11, 2008 6:40 pm UTC

Maybe they could protect them with something like barbed wire, put spines sticking out in all directions around them.. oh.. wait.

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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby ++$_ » Sat Oct 11, 2008 6:57 pm UTC

clintonius wrote:I think the bigger issue, though, is proportionality. If you were a billionaire, would it be reasonable to put microchips in your dollar bills (the analogy is falling apart, I know)? They're either going to spend a ludicrous amount of money and time imbedding the chips in lots of cacti, or they're going to do it randomly and in such a way that it may or may not be effective.
They're going to try and put the chips in the most attractive cacti. But we can calculate how much money it would cost to do this.

According to the article, the chips cost between 4 and 4.5 dollars. Let's say 5 dollars to overestimate. Suppose they want to put a chip into 1 cactus out of every 10. According to the "census," there were 1.3 million cacti in the park. That means they need to implant 130,000 chips. That costs $650,000. Also, they need to hire people to implant the chips. I would assume that a worker can easily implant 10 chips per hour, even accounting for the time needed to drive to the location in the park. So you'll need to pay for 13,000 man-hours. At $20 an hour (a generous wage for implanting chips in friggin' cactuses), that costs $260,000.

Also, they'll have to buy one or two scanners for each road out of the park. Let's say they need 100 in total, at $2500 each. That'll cost $250,000 as a one-time cost. Of course, they'll have to pay people to do the monitoring, but the article says they've busted cactus thieves before. So such people are already in the budget.

Total cost of chipping: $1.2 million, 1-time cost. That's not so bad. They can make up for a bit of it in fines.

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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby ddxxdd » Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:23 pm UTC

++$_ wrote:Total cost of chipping: $1.2 million, 1-time cost. That's not so bad. They can make up for a bit of it in fines.

So let's say that this cuts the costs of stolen cacti in half. Instead of 15 cacti being stolen, costing $15,000, only 8 cacti, costing $8000 are stolen. You're gonna have to fine each of those thieves $150,000 per cacti to justify the cost. Just stealing 1 cacti will bankrupt someone.

Instead, why not embark on a cacti-planting program? For $10 a seed and 150 years for a seed to turn into a tree, you can replenish the supply of cacti at quadruple the rate that they're stolen.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby clintonius » Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:02 pm UTC

ddxxdd wrote:1 cacti

Heh.

Anyways, yeah, the cost isn't really that painful, but I'm not convinced it's justified. What about setting up a limited sale of the cacti at reduced prices? They make a little money, they regulate the loss (at least in theory), everybody's happy. Except people will continue to steal them. Dammit.

How 'bout people just stop fucking stealing cacti because that's a stupid and shit thing to do? I like that one.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Gelsamel » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:32 am UTC

Or they're not going to microchip at all and just SAY they are to deter criminals.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby ++$_ » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:41 am UTC

ddxxdd wrote:
++$_ wrote:Total cost of chipping: $1.2 million, 1-time cost. That's not so bad. They can make up for a bit of it in fines.

So let's say that this cuts the costs of stolen cacti in half. Instead of 15 cacti being stolen, costing $15,000, only 8 cacti, costing $8000 are stolen. You're gonna have to fine each of those thieves $150,000 per cacti to justify the cost. Just stealing 1 cacti will bankrupt someone.

Instead, why not embark on a cacti-planting program? For $10 a seed and 150 years for a seed to turn into a tree, you can replenish the supply of cacti at quadruple the rate that they're stolen.
I wasn't really suggesting that the whole project would be paid for in fines. If you're only willing to fine $1000 per cactus, and you catch 8 people per year, then you'll get $8000 back per year. Since there are court costs, probably you only really make $2000. But hey, you've reduced crime!

The point is that a national park isn't a business that tries to break even. For a business, it would be completely ridiculous to spend $1.2M on chipping cacti, but the national park gets some benefits out of it (the article says that the project will have some scientific value as well, helping them gather data on the saguaros over time) and protects the cactuses. Sure, they're not endangered now, but if the demand for saguaros shoots up (say global warming increases the number of areas in the US where people can have them in their backyards), they could be pvergathered. "Could" obviously being the operative word here.

On the other hand, though, we know that projects always go over any reasonable budget. So probably, this will end up costing $10M. Oh well, at least it's creating jobs. (NOW HIRING: Full-time cactus microchip implanters. Background check required. Must have 2 yrs experience in the industry. $20/hr for qualified applicants. Telecommuting not an option.)

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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:08 am UTC

ddxxdd wrote:
++$_ wrote:Total cost of chipping: $1.2 million, 1-time cost. That's not so bad. They can make up for a bit of it in fines.

So let's say that this cuts the costs of stolen cacti in half. Instead of 15 cacti being stolen, costing $15,000, only 8 cacti, costing $8000 are stolen. You're gonna have to fine each of those thieves $150,000 per cacti to justify the cost. Just stealing 1 cacti will bankrupt someone.

This would be true if only one more cactus robbery occurred ever again. But if that were the case, they'd just let that one happen and then relax, knowing that no one would ever steal cacti from the park again.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby PictureSarah » Sun Oct 12, 2008 11:50 am UTC

The point is not that there are 1.3 million cacti in the park, and next to that, 17 is a tiny fraction....the point is that there are ONLY 1.3 million cacti in the park. These are very rare, very slow-growing plants. They're precious, and like the redwoods in California or the Silverswords in Hawaii they need protection. Because humans, evidently, are damn idiots. I swear, watching what we do sometimes is like watching The Lorax acted out over a decade or so.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby The Cat » Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:25 pm UTC

Saguaros sell for 20-40k++ and take an extremely long time to grow. I think their growth is about an inch per year....

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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Ocker3 » Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:02 pm UTC

people will steal just about any plant if they have a use for it and think they can get away with it. There is a very rapid growth in the number of houses near my Uni, and the security guards have mentioned that people will sometimes drive in, park, and then start digging up plants in the gardens and drive off with them. Not expensive plants, but I guess it means you don't have to buy them.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Cheshire Smile » Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:19 am UTC

PictureSarah wrote:I swear, watching what we do sometimes is like watching The Lorax acted out over a decade or so.


I think I love you.

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ANYWAY, like Gelsamel said, something tells me that the only money that's going to be spent here is the money it takes to spread the word that they're microchipping these cacti. While I agree, they're a great species and any theft is a shame, just the thought that the crime could be so easily caught would be a HUGE deterrent to potential theives...even if there aren't actually any microchips.

@ Ocker: I have to say, that's ridiculous. Honestly, when I was younger, I used to pick flowers from my neighbors' gardens, but it's because I didn't know better. To know that it's wrong and still steal something so petty... I mean, come on, you can get some nice houseplants at Walmart for less than $3. No excuses.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby The Cat » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:21 pm UTC

obviously you have never spent any time in the Southwest. People in that region do some really crazy stuff for money. Where was this?? Oh, Tucson Arizona. Why does that sound so firmiliar! Oh, now I remember. :D

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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Falmarri » Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:17 pm UTC

I live in Tucson, and I never once heard of this being a problem. There are plenty of other saguaro cacti all over the state, not just in saguaro national park.

++$_ wrote:The point is that a national park isn't a business that tries to break even.


It sure feels like one, since we have to pay 5 dollars to park anywhere in the park even if we're not using any developed areas and just day hiking or rock climbing or something.

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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby clintonius » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:14 am UTC

Falmarri wrote:I live in Tucson, and I never once heard of this being a problem.
Well, if they didn't tell you, it must be a load of shit.
Falmarri wrote:There are plenty of other saguaro cacti all over the state, not just in saguaro national park.
And all those cacti would be out of the jurisdiction of the park officials. The ones implanting the microchips. 'Course you'd know that if you read the article instead of just picking someone's post to shit on.
Falmarri wrote:
++$_ wrote:The point is that a national park isn't a business that tries to break even.
It sure feels like one, since we have to pay 5 dollars to park anywhere in the park even if we're not using any developed areas and just day hiking or rock climbing or something.
D'AAAWWWW! You could have each bought a snickers and a coke for that! Fuck the government. Fuck the government attempting to pay for its services by charging only the people who use them rather than levying another blanket tax on everyone in the state or the country. What a preposterously unfair crock of donkey shit.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Falmarri » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:35 am UTC

Umm... y so hostile? All I said was I haven't heard of this being a problem, especially considering the millions and millions of saguero in southern arizona. I wasn't picking anyone's post to shit on...

clintonius wrote:Fuck the government attempting to pay for its services by charging only the people who use them rather than levying another blanket tax on everyone in the state or the country.


Umm again... They're charging people who DON'T use their services.

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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby clintonius » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:39 am UTC

Parking lots != free. Roads != free. Trails != free.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Belial » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:40 am UTC

Umm again... They're charging people who DON'T use their services.


You're...parking on their land. Hiking their trails. Climbing their rocks. That's using the services. Holding and maintaining the land is part of what the budget for national parks is for. They're trying to recoup some of the expenses so that they can either tax everyone else less, or do more.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Falmarri » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:44 am UTC

clintonius wrote:Parking lots != free. Roads != free. Trails != free.


Trails are paid for by federal tax dollars. It's being double taxed to be charged a fee for something we're already paying taxes for. Federal law allows fees only for areas with specific improvements, including toilets, trash cans and developed parking. Most of the places I park on Mt Lemmon aren't developed, they're simply highway turnoffs or dirt pullout areas.

Belial wrote:
Umm again... They're charging people who DON'T use their services.


You're...parking on their land. Hiking their trails. Climbing their rocks. That's using the services.



If only that's what the federal law allowed for... Isn't the point of state and national parks to allow people to use the land for free? Otherwise, I should just go to disneyland if I'm going to have to pay a fee anyway.

Also, their land? This is federal and state land. It's public land.

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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby roc314 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:49 am UTC

Falmarri wrote:Umm again... They're charging people who DON'T use their services.
So you don't like taxes then? I know that I have never been directly benefited by the justice system, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't have to help pay for them. Of course, you could go the other way and say that only those who 'benefit' directly from the police should have to help pay for them, and then do something like make rape victims pay for their own rape kits, but that's ridiculous and bloody outrageous.

EDIT:
Falmarri wrote:Also, their land? This is federal and state land. It's public land.
Why shouldn't a member of the public help pay for public property?
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Falmarri » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:51 am UTC

roc314 wrote:
Falmarri wrote:Umm again... They're charging people who DON'T use their services.
So you don't like taxes then? I know that I have never been directly benefited by the justice system, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't have to help pay for them. Of course, you could go the other way and say that only those who 'benefit' directly from the police should have to help pay for them, and then do something like make rape victims pay for their own rape kits, but that's ridiculous and bloody outrageous.


I don't like being taxed twice. Either pay for the parks with taxes, or require user fees. Doing both is being double taxed. However, I DON'T like taxes, but I think keeping up national parks is a reasonably good use of tax money. I just wish they didn't develop them so much. It's supposed to be going out to enjoy nature and preserve the natural environment of the area.

EDIT:
EDIT:
Falmarri wrote:Also, their land? This is federal and state land. It's public land.
Why shouldn't a member of the public help pay for public property?[/quote]

They are, through taxes.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Belial » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:52 am UTC

Trails are paid for by federal tax dollars. It's being double taxed to be charged a fee for something we're already paying taxes for.


What, you mean like toll highways?

Isn't the point of state and national parks to allow people to use the land for free? Otherwise, I should just go to disneyland if I'm going to have to pay a fee anyway.


No, the point of state and national parks is so that the land will be there at all. Because if anyone else bought it, you can pretty well guarantee it wouldn't stay open park space. Or any kind of wilderness.

And if you can get into Disney World for $5 dollars, good job.

Also, their land? This is federal and state land. It's public land.


Right right. It's everyone's land. And if you want to use it, you need to pitch in.

I just wish they didn't develop them so much. It's supposed to be going out to enjoy nature and preserve the natural environment of the area.


Please explain the relevance of this in reference to the price of tea in china.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:53 am UTC

No, see, it's like public universities. They already get funded by our tax dollars. That's why we don't have to pay to go there.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Falmarri » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:54 am UTC

Belial wrote:
Trails are paid for by federal tax dollars. It's being double taxed to be charged a fee for something we're already paying taxes for.


What, you mean like toll highways?


Definitely. Toll highways are absolutely retarded. If they're going to charge a toll to use a highway, why am I still being taxed to pay for roads? Luckily there aren't toll roads where I live.

Edit:
gmalivuk wrote:No, see, it's like public universities. They already get funded by our tax dollars. That's why we don't have to pay to go there.


So because something else doesn't work like it should, nothing should?

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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby roc314 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:56 am UTC

Falmarri wrote:
Belial wrote:
Trails are paid for by federal tax dollars. It's being double taxed to be charged a fee for something we're already paying taxes for.


What, you mean like toll highways?


Definitely. Toll highways are absolutely retarded. If they're going to charge a toll to use a highway, why am I still being taxed to pay for roads? Luckily there aren't toll roads where I live.
First, please don't use the word retarded like that.

Second, perhaps not the entire cost of the highway/park is covered by taxes, so they need additional monies. Say, hypothetically, that taxes will pay for 80% of the road/national park. Your toll/parking fee will help cover the other 20%. I see no double taxation there.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:57 am UTC

Falmarri wrote: If they're going to charge a toll to use a highway, why am I still being taxed to pay for roads?

Because tolls don't come anywhere close to paying for the upkeep of those roads.

You're not paying twice. You're paying part of it in taxes, and part of it in tolls. I don't see why that's somehow such a huge problem...
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby clintonius » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:00 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Because tolls don't come anywhere close to paying for the upkeep of those roads.

You're not paying twice. You're paying part of it in taxes, and part of it in tolls. I don't see why that's somehow such a huge problem...
This. Like ++$_ said way up above, they're not running a business. They're not turning a profit here.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Belial » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:03 am UTC

Indeed. The alternative isn't "we all get free parks, and free roads, and free universities" the alternatives are "we all pay a whole bunch more in taxes, even if we don't use those services" or "those services go away".

Honestly, if I thought it would be the former, I'd be for it. But considering everyone shits their pants and votes republican anytime someone says "raise taxes", I imagine it would be the latter.

Which is, of course, dumb. Taxes are how we buy civilization.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby clintonius » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:06 am UTC

Belial wrote:Taxes are how we buy civilization.
Mmm. . . Holmes. . . OM NOM NOM
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Belial » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:08 am UTC

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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Bakemaster » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:25 am UTC

Well I was born in Tucson, so I am an expert in the subject of whatever this discussion is about. I have never been stuck by a saguaro. I have been stuck by a prickly pear and a jumping cholla. I used to know a kid named Elvis who wouldn't let me ride his bike. I used to try to steal the tails off geckos. I knew from a young age what an aloe vera plant looked like and that if you ever got burned, you should rub aloe vera sap on it, and so I wanted to get burned so I could treat it with aloe vera sap and show how clever I was.

Everyone arguing in this thread is stupid. I was born in Tucson so I am an expert in the subject.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Azrael » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:31 am UTC

Bakemaster wrote:I knew from a young age what an aloe vera plant looked like and that if you ever got burned, you should rub aloe vera sap on it...

... I was born outside of Boston and knew that too? :mrgreen:

Relevance: I clearly am an expert on this subject matter because of it?

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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Falmarri » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:34 am UTC

Bakemaster wrote:Everyone arguing in this thread is stupid.


That sounds like an argument.

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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:22 am UTC

No, he is decidedly not backing up his position with facts nor defending it in any way.
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Re: Microchipping cacti to keep them from being swiped...

Postby Cheshire Smile » Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:59 am UTC

Bakemaster wrote:a jumping cholla


Completely off-topic, I would just like to announce my undying hatred for those bloody plants. I've only been to Arizona ONCE (That I remember...), but still... ohmigawd. I was out with my Aunt Diane, and her dogs... the dogs, who didn't know any better, got a bit too close to one of those jumping cholla devils and got a nose full of spines. Screeaammmeeeddddd like a doggy can scream.

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