If you’re from St. Louis, you’re familiar with The Jewel Box in Forest Park. It’s one of the most beautiful spots in the park and is a frequent and popular site for weddings in the city.
Just outside the entrance to this lovely glass structure sits a large Koi pond. If you happened to be attending a wedding here last weekend, you’re sure to remember it. Not because it was particularly beautiful against the backdrop of the changing leaves but because it was drained – with the fish still in it.
Yeah, that’s right. The parks department decided that it was time to drain the pond for the winter and simply left the dozens of fish still living in it to flail around, gasping for breath on the concrete bottom until they died.
Fortunately, a handful of them were spared this cruel and horrible death by the wedding photographer that happened to be on site last Saturday who spent every free minute she could find trying to rescue the fish that were still alive. A few of them are even lucky enough to call a new tank in her house home.
To that photographer, Alecia Hoyt, thank you for your kindness. To the fellow photographer, Kelly Manno, who was so outraged by this cruelty that she thoughtfully recorded the events of the day and wrote about them on her blog, thank you for taking the time to speak up about something that is so clearly wrong. To my photographer friend, Stevie, thank you for bringing the whole hideous situation to my attention.
As for the parks department, I have harsher words for you:
To drain a pond with absolutely no regard for the fish that live in it is beyond irresponsible and cruel. It is heartless. If you can’t be bothered to care for the fish that you put in the pond, do not put fish in the pond. There is simply no excuse for not removing the fish before the water was drained for the season. Regardless, I’d really, really like an explanation. More than that, I want a guarantee that this will not happen again.
If you’re from the area, please contact Mayor Slay’s office to voice your disapproval (respectfully, of course) and demand more responsible and considerate future policies. If you also happen to be engaged and considering a Forest Park venue, I’d recommend exploring some of the many other gorgeous locales the city has to offer. At least you’ll be assured that your wedding guests won’t be horrified by the sight of a few dozen dead/dying animals as they walk in the door.
P.S. I also know a few good wedding photographers…