Denver: Bar owner steamed at PETA, won’t surrender lobster crane |

Denver: Bar owner steamed at PETA, won’t surrender lobster crane

Alan Gathright
Rocky Mountain News
Vail, CO Colorado

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colorado ” When a loyal patron urged JD’s Bait Shop to remove a “game” where people pay $2 to try to hook a live lobster with toy crane for a free dinner, the Greenwood Village sports bar and grill decided to pull the plug on the Lobster Zone.

Then People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issued a boiling mad letter to bar owner Dennis McCann ” released first to the news media ” saying “abusing animals for cheap ‘amusement’ in order to make a few extra dollars is unethical and unacceptable, and I hope that you will remove the Lobster Zone machine immediately.”

“JD’s Lobster Zone machine turns torture and death into a game, pure and simple,” PETA Vice President Tracy Reiman said in the press release.

“Incarcerating lobsters in filthy tanks inside a boisterous club, making an abusive game out of their capture, and finally boiling them to death is every bit as reprehensible as tormenting cats, dogs, or any other animal.”

A PETA official has been repeatedly calling McCann’s home and restaurant, demanding: ‘When is he going to take this out?’ ” the bar owner said.

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Now a steamed McCann is refusing to surrender to what he calls zealous, lobster-loving “whack jobs.”

“If they would have never said a word to me, then it would be removed by now,” McCann said in his native Alabama drawl.

“But now that they’ve blown this thing out of proportion, I’ve had 50 people call me, saying: ‘Don’t bow down to these people. Don’t do it.'”

The topper: Someone ” McCann suspects PETA ” filed a complaint and an animal cruelty investigator arrived Tuesday to inspect the Lobster Zone tank, similar to ones outside vendors have placed in a dozen metro area restaurants, paying eatery owners a fee.

McCann said the investigator from the Dumb Friends League found the tank in compliance, with the water clean and the right temperature and the lobsters fed with their claws properly banded.

The league’s Chief Animal Cruelty Investigator Norm Renter confirmed that a confidential complaint had been filed against the sports bar, but he couldn’t immediately confirm the investigation’s outcome.

The crustacean clash has made headlines around the globe.

A Chicago talk-radio show called McCann, playing the song “Rock Lobster,” itching to torment PETA.

The radio host said: “Why don’t you put a dot on the bottom of one of the lobsters and if someone wins that one, then give them a free fur coat. That’ll really get PETA going!” McCann recounted.

The grill owner said he’s a critter-friendly guy who doesn’t want to do anything to turn off anyone, especially his customers.

“If I saw a squirrel hit on the side of the road, I would try to help the animal out,” McCann said.

But he’s not sure about the philosophy of PETA’s “Lobster Liberation” page, which states: “In many ways, lobsters really aren’t so different from us” right down to their “long childhood and an awkward adolescence” or carrying their young nine months and living to more than 100 years old.

“Sadly, many lobsters don’t survive their most formidable predator ” humans ” and more than 20 million are consumed each year in the United States alone,” the Web site says.

Under the headline “Being Boiled Hurts,” PETA quotes an invertebrate zoologist saying: “[Lobsters] can, I am sure, sense pain.”

But, McCann whose grill doesn’t serve lobsters except for those caught by the toy cranes, said: “Think of how many lobsters are going to be eaten on the Four of July?”

“I’d rather stay below the radar screen on this deal, and I wish it would just go away,” he said.

“But if I just give in and take the thing out, then they’ve won. I’ve empowered these people,” he said. “So, I’m going to hold my ground and once they get off my case, maybe I will take it out then.”

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