I created a neighborhood controversy last week when I reported seeing a small red fox in my yard face-to-face with a neighborhood cat. Yes, the fox was in my front yard! I opened the door and the fox immediately took off for the woods. Feeling it was my civic duty, I posted a note on the neighborhood web group area telling people what I saw and urging them to keep their pets safe. I have chosen to make my two cats completely indoor cats for the time being. I didn’t realize that my simple posting would create such troublesome behaviors.
Within an hour, Animal Control was at my front door (not at my request). These very nice, professional people told me about the habits of foxes and Animal Control’s role in the community. If I said the animal was rabid (it wasn’t), they would be forced to catch and kill it. If I said the fox had threatened me, Animal Control would take action. My neighbors went into an uproar demanding me to report the fox as vicious, threatening and a nuisance.
I thought the fox was fine where he was. He wasn’t causing any trouble. He (or maybe it was a she, I really don’t know) lives somewhere in the woods behind our houses and was out for a stroll. People, the developers did cut down 38 acres of trees behind us in the past couple years to build more houses. Where is a fox supposed to live?
Ethical behavior and value-based choices are important to me. Lie about the situation to get a specific outcome? What about my neighbors’ feelings? When it came down to it, I couldn’t lie. I said if the fox (and the foxes’ family which is out there somewhere) becomes that big a problem, we need to contribute money to get the fox family safely relocated. It’s not always about the result — sometimes it’s about the journey. I think lying to get something done is still lying. Do you think it’s OK to lie to get a specific result? In the process of defining ourselves (and the ReInvention Station), it’s important to know your values and make ethical personal and business decisions.