• U.S.

Americana: Rattling Andrus

1 minute read

When Dominique’s, a French restaurant in Washington, advertised fresh Pennsylvania rattlesnake sauteed in wine for $9.25, Interior Department Herpetologist C. Kenneth Dodd Jr. whipped off a letter to the beanery urging that the reptile be spared. Pennsylvania’s scarce timber rattlesnake is rapidly approaching extinction, he warned. Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus got wind of the letter and promptly fired Dodd, mainly for sending a personal protest on official Government stationery.

But as soon as the chief conservationist’s venomous reaction leaked to local newspapers, environmental groups rallied angrily to Dodd’s defense. One such spokesman charged Andrus with “flagrant abuse of power” and “harassment” of “a dedicated public servant.” Another point embarrassing to the Secretary: he is known as a regular diner at Dominique’s. Last week the kitchen got too hot for Andrus, and he reinstated Dodd. As for Dominique’s, it now serves the plentiful, unendangered diamondback rattler.

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