Pet News

Gorilla Killed at Zoo – A Dog’s Perspective

Written by Rachel Phelps

My pals, if you watch TV, been on the Internet, or social media at all lately – you have to know about the gorilla at the Cincinnati zoo and the small child that fell into his exhibit.  Being an animal myself, this has been very unsettling and I think it is time for an animal’s perspective on this debate – mine!

I don’t candy coat my opinion, so if you don’t like what this dog has to say or I offend you in some way, then feel free to stop reading now.  My opinion is this animal’s death is due to bad human decisions, pure and simple.  The human mom was not supervising her child the way she should have been.  The responsibility for the safety of human puppies goes to the person who brings them.

To explain, I am going to turn the tables in my argument.  If my mom takes me out in public she is completely responsible for me.  If I make a mess, she has to clean it up, and if I growl at anyone (doesn’t matter if they were pulling my ears or tail) I am considered a bad dog and asked to leave.  Why doesn’t that apply to human puppies?  Parents, you became responsible the minute you decided to become a parent.  In the same way, pet parents become responsible the minute they adopt or purchase a pet.  You can’t pass that responsibility over to a zoo and the fence around an exhibit.  Why do you think us dogs have leashes on when we are out?  So our parents can keep us close.  Why not leash the human puppies too?  If they were, Harambe would still be alive.

Let’s take a minute to think about this from the Gorilla’s perspective.  He is minding his own business in HIS home snacking on whatever gorillas eat (I am guessing they don’t like chew sticks like I do) and he is hanging out in his yard enjoying the weather.  All of a sudden, a tiny hairless gorilla appears out of nowhere in his home. He didn’t ring the doorbell, he wasn’t invited, he just shows ups out of the blue in the water by the front door.  In case you don’t know, gorillas HATE water, but he knew something was wrong and went to check it out.  All the hairless adult gorillas up above his home are yelling which is out of the normal and it is stressing him out. He doesn’t understand English so he doesn’t know what is going on.

It is up to debate if the gorilla was going to hurt the kid or was trying to help him.  I am not a gorilla expert, but being a dog, I would say if he wanted to hurt him he would have squished him right away.  Instead, he moved him.  Yes, to you humans the way he moved the kid appeared violent.  To me though, I know that animals are not as careful and graceful as humans.  Heck, my dog mom dragged me around by the neck with her mouth to get me from place to place.  For some reason you humans see that as ok.  Also, it isn’t like the gorilla could communicate with the human puppy and say follow me over here.  He did what his mom did to him when he was a baby gorilla and moved him the only way he knew how.  Then, out of the blue, he feels a sharp pain and he is dead from a gunshot wound.  All of this, just because someone uninvited decided to come into his house.

Now, let’s turn this example to dogs.  Lets say a parent leaves their kid unattended with a dog. Or, as I have had happen, a small human puppy runs full steam to me with this high pitch scream that hurts my ears with their hands in front of them yelling doggie, doggie.  If I growl or snap at them I am a terrible dog.  Also, if I were a big dog like a pit bull I could be put down because I bit a child.  Where does the human’s responsibility come into play?  Isn’t it interesting that the humans are always innocent in situations like this?  I guess it is because you all are in charge … sigh.

I would like to end by saying that I am very glad the human puppy is ok.  Seriously!  At the same time though, I am sad that Harambe died.  He didn’t deserve this.  I hope that at a minimum, the mom has to go to some parenting classes to learn how to properly take care of her human puppy.  I also hope she has to volunteer in some way with animals to help her understand the significance of this animal losing its life and how she contributed to it.  Finally, I hope that kid had to spend some quality time in his crate and that he learns from this so he starts listening to his rents.

Your Pal,



About the author

Rachel Phelps

Rachel Phelps, “America’s Pet Parent,” is an award-winning writer, photographer, and certified dog trainer. She keeps busy managing the career of her Internet celebrity dog Preston from Preston Speaks. Her three Westies — who think they are mini-humans — and three cats rule the house. To learn more about Rachel go to: Rachel Phelps Website


  • Very good article, Preston! I hope that out of the tragedy the zoo comes up with some other plan of actions to try first & that a gun is only used as a last resort (not the first & only). I hope, also, that they make the gorilla enclosure more solid & that somehow the mother does face consequences.

  • Thanks for writing this, Preston. Paretnal Unit and I are sad about this beautiful gorilla. We’ll go a step further, though, and say we think almost all zoos are hideous.

    They call them “exhibits”…so sad. Why is it OK for humans to trap wild animals and put them behind bars to look at? They are not painting or sculptures! I don’t want to see a wild animal in the zoo, because that’s not really seeing the animal, they become but a characture of their beautiful, wild selves in captivity. I do love to see them in a wild, though, the few times I’ve been lucky enough to do so.

    If this means that less people actually see those animals in person, so be it! Who cares? You don’t need to see wild animals in captivity to want to help it by preserving their habitats, etc….that’s the excuse some zoo directors, like our dufus Jack Hanna use to justify not only zoos, but carting wild animal around for TV appearances that Hanna is so famous for…
    OK., I’m done!

  • Well said, buddy….well said! I agree with everything you say and I think it would be great if 1) human parents started paying more attention to their offspring than their cell phones while in public spaces, and 2) that human mom has to do some community service at the zoo to understand the significance of her contribution to Harambe’s death.
    Your brotha from anotha motha

  • You are so correct. We are sick and tired of the human little ones doing whatever they want and never having to answer for their actions. Parents need to teach kids and discipline them. Society is so out of whack!

  • Thanks …. Preston you said what the rest of us thought. ❤

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