Skip to content

Ban private “ownership” of exotic pets: 49 slaughtered after set free

October 19, 2011
by




Please click on and sign:
Gov.Kasich: Ban the sale, ownership, and harboring of wild & exotic animals in OH
Federal Ban on Exotic Animals as pets
No legitimate sanctuary takes wild animals to the mall


From CNN | By Will Tavers

CNN Editor’s note: Will Tavers is CEO and co-founder of the Born Free Foundation, whose mission is to end the suffering of wild animals in captivity, rescue animals in need and protect wildlife, including highly endangered species. The foundation includes Born Free USA, which runs a primate sanctuary in Texas for 500 primates rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos and private possession.

Exotic animals should live in the wild, not be exploited in profit-motivated zoos — or worse — as “pets” or backyard oddities by people who have a deeply misguided sense of dominion or ownership.

What happened in Ohio on Tuesday and Wednesday has drawn dramatic attention to the private possession of exotics, an issue that is a major component of Born Free USA’s mission to protect wildlife.

On Wednesday, 56 exotic animals — including lions, tigers, bears, giraffes and wolves — were freed from their captivity at a rural residence outside Zanesville. Police report the animals’ “owner,” 62-year-old Terry Thompson, let the animals out of their cages before he killed himself. Forty-nine of the animals — including 18 tigers and 17 lions — were shot dead by law enforcement officers.

Thankfully, other than Thompson’s death, no human injuries have been reported as a result of this situation.

Ohio has had a recent flurry of incidents in which exotic animals being held by private individuals in or outside people’s residences have been involved in violent encounters with humans. In September, an 80-year-old man was attacked by a kangaroo at an exotic-animal farm in Green Camp. In June, an escaped “pet” grivet monkey scratched two girls while he was on the loose in Fremont. In August 2010, a bear fatally mauled its caretaker on the owner’s property in Columbus Station.

Born Free USA tracks such cases in our Exotic Animal Incidents Database. We list 86 incidents involving exotic animals in Ohio in recent years, and probably many other such encounters have gone unreported. Nationwide, our database lists nearly 1,600 incidents.

There is no excuse for wild, potentially dangerous, exotic animals to be kept in private hands. Ohio is one of a handful of states with woefully few regulations on the books to govern such questionable close contact with wildlife, and Born Free USA has been pushing for years to get a stronger law enacted in the state.

Vodpod videos no longer available.



In 2006, the Ohio Legislature quickly introduced a bill to restrict private possession of exotics after an Ashtabula County woman was mauled by a 500-pound black bear that escaped a pen kept by a nearby neighbor. The bill failed, and just four years later in 2010, an emergency executive order was put in place after a 24-year-old man was mauled to death by a black bear kept in a Columbia Township compound. The order temporarily banned private ownership of big cats, bears, alligators, crocodiles and certain snakes. In April 2011, the order expired upon the promise by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the governor that a new rule-making process would swiftly be established in order to implement regulations regarding possession of exotics. This still has not happened.

What will it take to get swift action in the state — and in other states around the country that lack complete bans on exotic pet ownership? Will it take a bigger, more diverse animal escape? A monkeypox outbreak? People dying? There is no need to wait, no need to take this kind of dramatic and incomprehensible risk.

The drain on society from keeping exotic animals as pets is not insignificant. Humane societies, sheriff’s departments and wildlife sanctuaries end up bearing the brunt of the cost of placing these animals and giving them humane, lifetime care.

In Texas, the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary provides permanent, safe, naturalistic and free-range accommodations for more than 500 macaques, vervets and baboons, many of whom have been rescued from captive lives of stress, deprivation and danger — danger to both the monkeys and to their “owners.”

Every chance we get, every day we come to work, in as many effective, forceful and creative ways we can, we encourage our members and supporters to spread the word that wild animals belong in the wild.

What happened in Ohio this week is appalling. All those animals, imprisoned for no good reason. Their “owner” was apparently a tortured soul who took his own life and put the lives of nearby residents in peril through his bizarre act. And all those wandering animals, confused by their sudden and unfathomable “freedom,” were shot dead as though they were alien invaders in a safe bucolic land.

None of that had to happen. It could have been avoided. Private possession of exotic animals is inexcusable and it puts human lives at risk. When will we, as a civilization, learn that wild animals are just as entitled to live freely on this planet as we are and it is our duty and obligation to ensure that this is possible?

Maybe, just maybe, the wildlife slaughter on the streets of Ohio will finally spur the change we need for safer and more compassionate communities across the country.

Man unkind
Don’t you get it yet
Wild, exotic animals
Are not collectibles
Or pets
So tragedies such
As this do not happen
Any more
powers that pee
Enact and enforce strong
Appropriate laws!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


7 Comments leave one →
  1. Phillip Irwin permalink
    October 19, 2011 7:53 pm

    “Whereas the population of this country seem to be too stupid, wantonly cruel and blood thirsty to properly maintain a pet rock, I think it best that the people not be allowed to own exotic animals.”

    Like

  2. October 19, 2011 7:58 pm

    My Gawd, Ohio is one of the worst states for wildlife, this is so horrific in so many ways. The BIG question with this monstrous canned hunt for these officers, WHY, esp. a state where Jack Hanna runs a Zoo, do they not have tranquilizer guns on hand???? They only cost a few hundred dollars, less than these guy’s big, fat Christmas dinner, and did you hear Jack Hanna on Rachel Maddow, defending the sheriff’s dept, saying they didn’t want to kill these animals, BS, these cops Jones’ed to kill at their own canned hunt. He then stated how concerned he was to get this law changed, yeah, all well and good, but he included a “Raccoon” , if you read between the lines, he is setting this up to re-enforce the already in place law in OH, that does not allow a private person to “interfere” with wildlife at all, so means you can’t feed the Deer, or assist them if they have a arrow through their head, thus protecting the hunters as their property. This tragedy is beyond my full comprehension right now, but my instincts tell me, we have to get in this fight.

    Like

  3. Karen Lyons kalmenson permalink
    October 20, 2011 4:17 am

    Man unkind
    Don’t you get it yet
    Wild, exotic animals
    Are not collectibles
    Or pets
    So tragedies such
    As this do not happen
    Any more
    powers that pee
    Enact and enforce strong
    Appropriate laws!

    Like

  4. linda badham permalink
    October 20, 2011 10:36 am

    NO WILD ANIMAL SHOULD BE ANYWHERE OTHER THAN IN THE WILD. ! THERE SHOULD BE A LAW AGAINST PEOPLE “OWNING” A WILD ANIMAL. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? 49 ANIMALS SET FREE ARE BEING IN CAPTIVITY MUST HAVE BEEN SO SCARY FOR THEM. THEN THEY ARE SHOT ! WHY ? WHY COULD THEY NOT HAVE BEEN SEDATED AND TAKEN TO A WILD LIFE REFUGE PARK? THIS IS TERRIBLE ALL ROUND, AND AGAIN THE ANIMALS SUFFERED !

    Like

  5. https://ocseoexperts.wordpress.com permalink
    January 30, 2016 3:30 am

    Cease Guessing!

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. Wildlife Update : US Tragedy results in WWF calling for ban on pet tigers « LEARN FROM NATURE
  2. Early to Rise!!! « Loki’s Gift

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Cosmic Skeptic

Question Everything

Striking at the Roots

Animal activism around the world

Veganista

news∙food∙life

World Animals Voice

Animal news from around the world.

Purplerays

spiritual enlightenment and self improvement

The Bruges Vegan

more than waffles and chocolate

DirtNKids Blog

Soil, Kids, Vegan -- Connected Through Nature

Amici del Lupo - Svizzera italiana

per sensibilizzare e farlo conoscere...

Animalista Untamed

The only good cage is an empty cage

Jet Eliot

Travel and Wildlife Adventures

Organic Opinion

Finding it, aye there's the rub~

Eat No Harm

Living consciously for our planet, the animals, and ourselves.

Flawless Pandemonium

Question everything~

Veganism is Nonviolence

Being Vegan Is A First Step To A Nonviolent Life

The Biotrotter

The Globetrotting Biologists

%d bloggers like this: