How Often Do You Get Bitten? tells the story of a young man who (as a friend put it) seems to have found his vocation in a way most people never do, and it’s a vocation he can be proud of. Sean Casey, who founded and runs . . . wait for it . . . Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Windsor Terrace, a old-fashioned family neighborhood in Brooklyn just southwest of Prospect Park, rescues nearly anything, from dogs and cats to guinea pigs to snakes and tortoises.

And the animals do need rescuing. The tortoises, for example, and who would have thought of rescuing tortoises? are, he says,

actually native to Africa, but they’re very common in the pet trade. When they’re born they’re about the size of a golf ball, and they’re cute, but then they get really big. Nobody really thinks through what it means to own an animal like that. The biggest one I have now is 80 pounds, but, at full size, he will get up to 200. We used to keep him in a dirt yard in Queens, and he dug a seven-foot-deep trench back there.


Fences can’t hold them. When you have an animal like that in your house, they knock over furniture, they chew on the drywall. I had one that saw his reflection in the front of the stainless-steel stove in the kitchen, and started to fight with it. So he rammed the stove, and smashed in the whole door. You can’t train them. When it pees, that’s a gallon on your floor.


And they live, on average, for 100 years. Most people aren’t prepared for that. People need to do their research, especially with exotic animals. Ninety percent of the exotics we get are because people didn’t do their research.


It’s a great story. I’ve been to Sean Casey’s and seen the good work they do — and seen the five tortoises they rescued, who are, you know, not the most exciting animals you’ll meet and likely to remain at the shelter for the rest of their very long lives — as our eldest wants to adopt a dog. Sean and his staff were very helpful. It’s a great place. Here is the shelter’s web address .

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