Opinion Columns & Blogs

The capture of Daisy Podidae


I’m surprised it didn’t get more media attention. There was a small mention of it on CNN and Fox (but at around 5 a.m.), and “USA Today” had it under Georgia “In The News” from the various states, but, to my knowledge, nothing in the local papers or on local television. It wasn’t in The Telegraph. But, it was big news to my wife, Janice, and to some extent, I shared her enthusiasm for what was reported. I believe others will want to know of this development. Thus, the reason for this column.

The news was this: Authorities captured in a small cabin at the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp near Fargo, Georgia, the woman who brought armadillos into the state of Georgia. Yes, it was a woman and not a man.

The story is that Daisy Podidae of San Antonio, Texas, had been hiding out with her menagerie of animals in the swamp near Fargo since bringing a single pair of armadillos into Georgia in 1987.

“Just good detective work,” said Capt. Boney Shellhouse of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. “We have followed road-kill for several years, which ultimately led us to Ms. Podidae and Fargo, Georgia.”

“She offered no resistance and surrendered her animals to us including wolves, coyotes and Russian boars. One of the problems that almost caused us to miss our capture is that her cabin was almost obscured by kudzu.”

Not to be personal, but Janice was elated. She blames everything on armadillos – not wild hogs or squirrels or other foraging, rooting creatures, but armadillos – these burrowing mammals of the scientific family of Dasypodidae. Let her flower bed pine straw be disturbed and it’s, “I do not like those armadillos. Larry, what are you going to do about them? Run over them with your pick-up.” Which, I refuse to do. Truly, I believe that if there was a split in the Grovania United Methodist Church, she would blame it on these creatures of God.

But, back to the story. Supposedly, Podidae is seeking extradition back to Texas, where folks are more accustomed to and tolerant of armadillos. If tried in Georgia, Podidae would face a minimum of five years and up to 15 years. Former Gov. Zell Miller, father of some of Georgia’s toughest criminal laws including “two strikes and you’re out,” commented: “This is a small price for someone to pay who has caused so much havoc to so many.” Janice agrees with Zell.

The postscript to this story is that the efforts by former State Rep. Buddy DeLoach of Hinesville to introduce gnats to Atlanta, so that those of us below the fall-line (gnat line) might get some governmental relief, has faltered in the light of the Podidae arrest. According to DeLoach, “Possibly, one of Gov. Miller’s laws might have inadvertently made our efforts illegal.”

Second postscript: Gov. Deal is considering the creation of a special task force inside the GBI to look for the person or persons who brought fire-ants into the state of Georgia. Political pollsters say that Gov. Deal’s ratings, already high, have soared in light of this proposal. Gov. Deal commented: “We may not get rid of the fire-ants, but with an effective GBI sting program, we will catch the person who brought the fire-ants to Georgia.”

Just imagine, none of this made the local news. Frankly, I think more people are concerned with fire-ants, gnats, feral hogs, armadillos, coyotes, kudzu, etc., than what President Trump is going to do next.

Confession: All of this is just a spoof. I felt that I must confess this as, when I first published this in June of 2004, I had several readers who thought all of this was “real.” In fact, I had one reader who said she thought she might be related to Capt. Boney Shellhouse. Well, actually, there is some truth to some of it. In fact, if Washington, D.C. had feral hogs and gnats, I’d bet they’d rid the country of these creatures. But, until then, we’ll just have to suffer and fan and try to smooth out what the hogs root up.

I hope you had a little smile or even a laugh. We need it in this day of Washington politics, feral hogs, gnats, terrorism, North Korea, illegal immigrants, restroom issues, who can tote a gun and where, health care and the like. And, I didn’t even mention armadillos of the order Dasypodidae.

Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry. He served 32 years in the Georgia General Assembly and presently serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Email: lwalker@whgmlaw.com.