Displaying items by tag: exotic animals

 

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has renewed its call for Congress to support the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (HR1759) after a tiger owned by former Ringling Bros big cat trainer, Alexander Lacey, was shot dead by police in Georgia yesterday.

Tim Phillips, President of Animal Defenders International, said:When things go wrong in wild animal circuses they go seriously wrong. Aside from the public danger, this tiger has paid with her life for a human error, all in the name of frivolous entertainment. This tragic incident adds to the already overwhelming evidence showing traveling wild animal acts are not safe for animals or people and we urge Congress to act.”

HR 1759 was introduced March 28 by Representatives Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), and aims to amend the Animal Welfare Act to restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses and traveling performances. The bill has 32 co-sponsors.

The tiger, called Suzy, escaped while being transported from Florida to Tennessee, during a stop in Georgia. Spotted on the interstate, the tiger entered a residential area and, as stated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, after she “became aggressive toward pets in the area, it was deemed necessary for public safety to put it down”. Transporter Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros Circus, has stated they didn’t know Suzy was missing until they had reached their destination, raising concerns as to whether the big cats were properly checked.

Alexander Lacey plans to take his tigers, lions and a leopard to a German circus, following the closure of Ringling Bros earlier this year. An application to export the big cats from the US was opposed by ADI and other animal groups, as well as members of the public. The permit was approved August 14 by the US Fish and Wildlife Service but according to staff, still needs to be signed off after a correction is made.

Over the years, ADI has caught on film a catalogue of abuse at circuses owned by the big cat trainer’s father Martin Lacey Snr:

  • Tigers hit with whips and sticks by Martin Lacey Sr and his daughter Natasha Lacey.
  • Elephants abused, punched, and hit with brooms and sticks by their presenter and groom. Martin Lacey Sr told Members of the British Parliament that the elephants were not chained, yet ADI video evidence showed that they were chained every day, for up to 11 hours.
  • Lions and tigers confined in transporters 27 hours for a journey time of 3 hours 25 minutes.
  • Government circus inspection reports revealed big cats lived the whole year in cages on the back of transporters; tigers gave birth while on tour; and an elephant that was “chronically and obviously lame,” with a chronic abscess that “should be seen by a veterinary surgeon … as soon as possible.”
  • Alexander Lacey’sbeastman” lost his temper and lashed out at and hit tigers in a beast wagon; he also hit a lioness in the mouth with a metal bar.
  • Alexander Lacey jabbed a big cat hard with a stick, and concealed a seriously injured lioness from inspectors.

Given the constant travel and their temporary nature, circuses cannot provide animals with adequate facilities to keep them physically or psychologically healthy. Welfare is always compromised.

Expert analysis of scientific evidence commissioned by the Welsh Government and undertaken by Professor Steven Harris at Bristol University last year concluded, “The available scientific evidence indicates that captive wild animals in circuses and other travelling animal shows do not achieve their optimal welfare requirements.” The report stated that “Life for wild animals in travelling circuses…does not appear to constitute either a ‘good life’ or a ‘life worth living’”.

The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) has concluded “there is by no means the possibility that their [wild mammals in travelling circuses’] physiological, mental and social requirements can adequately be met.”

The British Veterinary Association concludes that “The welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met within a travelling circus - in terms of housing or being able to express normal behaviour.”

Nearly 40 countries around the world and more than 70 local US jurisdictions have introduced prohibitions on animals in circuses to date. Several states including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have introduced and are considering similar legislation. Illinois recently passed a ban on elephant performances and the New York Governor has a similar bill on his desk awaiting signature.

Please visitwww.ad-international.org for more information.

THE ROAR FOUNDATION SHAMBALA PRESERVE

The Roar Foundation, which I founded as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1983, exists solely to support The Shambala Preserve. Our mission is to educate the public about the dangers of private ownership of exotic animals. Huge numbers of exotic dangerous animals are bred and sold in the United States for illegal purposes. Private ownership presents a grave danger to the public and is cruel and unfair to these animals. More stringent legislation is needed to prohibit breeding and selling. We are actively involved in legislating this on federal and state levels.

Prior to 1983 I had been rescuing the exotic felines since 1972. Up to the present, The Shambala Preserve has given sanctuary to over 235 exotic felines - lion, tiger, cougar, black and spotted leopard, serval, bobcat, Asian leopard cat, snow leopard, cheetah, lynx, tigon, liger and African elephant. All have come to the Preserve after confiscation by authorities, such as California Fish and Game, U.S. Department of Agriculture, SPCA and Humane Societies. They are from roadside zoos and private citizens who realize they have purchased an animal they can no longer handle.

The exotic cat trade is a huge business. According to US. Fish and Wildlife it is on a par with illegal drugs. Once an animal is brought to Shambala, it remains here for the remainder of its life. As a true sanctuary, we do not buy, breed, sell, trade, or subject them to commercial use. Our only purpose is to allow these magnificent animals to live out their lives with care, understanding and dignity. Each has the best human, nutritional, medical, emotional and mental care possible.

There are many ways you can support The Roar Foundation: become a Member of the Roar Foundation, Adopt a Wild One, provide an item from the Shambala Wish List; attend a Safari Tour: visit The Trading Post, become a volunteer, attend one of our hugely popular and unique Sunset Safaris, and for a truly memorable experience, spend an entire night in one of Shambala’s authentic African Tents! All of these help to further Shambala’s educational efforts and support our mission. One special weekend a month, we hold the Safaris where Shambala opens the gates to the public for a small admission fee (by reservation only). All guests must be 18-yrs or older. Please come visit us and support our beautiful Wild Ones.

Shambala is a Sanskrit word that means: “A Meeting Place of Peace and Harmony for all Beings, Animal and Human.”

Tippi Hedren
President The Roar Foundation
The Shambala Preserve

 

 


Cyrus, Xhosa and Zoe

Shambala is home to over 40 big cats: lions, tigers, cougars, black and spotted leopards, servals, bobcats, and Asian leopard cats, who live out their lives at Shambala. All have come to the Preserve after confiscation by authorities such as California Fish and Game, the United States Department of Agriculture, the ASCPA, and various Humane Societies. They are from roadside zoos and private citizens who realize that they have purchased an animal that they can no longer handle. The exotic cat trade is a huge business, just under illegal drugs, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife.


Jazzy and Tabbi


Alexander

Once an animal is brought to Shambala, it remains here for the rest of its life. As a true sanctuary, we do not buy, breed, sell, trade, or subject our animals to commercial use. Our only purpose is to allow these magnificent animals to live out their lives with love and dignity. Each "Wild One" has the best human, nutritional, medical, emotional, and mental care possible.

There are many ways you can support The Roar Foundation: you can "Join Our Pride" by becoming a member, become a "Wild Parent" through our adoption program, donate an item from our Wish List, attend a Safari Tour or an exclusive Sunset Safari, visit the Trading Post, volunteer, and for a truly memorable experience, an overnight Safari in one of our African tents!


Savannah

For decades, Tippi Hedren's luminous beauty radiated from the silver screen, enchanting moviegoers and cementing her position among Hollywood's elite-beauty and star power that endure to this day. For too long Hedren's story has been told by others through whispered gossip and tabloid headlines. Now, in Tippi (William Morrow; hardcover; $28.99; on-sale: 11/1/16) Hedren sets the record straight, recalling how a young and virtuous Lutheran girl from small-town Minnesota became a worldwide legend-as one of the most famous “Hitchcock girls,” as an unwavering animal activist, and as the matriarch of a powerful Hollywood dynasty that includes her movie star daughter Melanie Griffith, and rising star Dakota Johnson, her granddaughter.For the first time, Hedren digs deep into her complicated relationship with the man who discovered her talent, director Alfred Hitchcock, the generous benefactor who would become a repulsive and controlling director who contractually controlled her every move for many years. She speaks openly about the dark pain she endured working with him on their most famous collaborations, The Birds and Marnie, and how as a single mother while shielded her daughter from her struggles on and off Hitchcock's set.Difficult as her experiences with Hitchcock were, they nearly paled in comparison to her time on the set of Roar-a film starring dozens of live lions and tigers that has become one of the most notorious film productions of all time. Including never before revealed details about the unbelievable making of the movie, Tippi describes how what began as a simple movie about big cats evolved into a sprawling, dangerous endeavor that consumed her career and often put lives, including hers and her family's, at risk. Tippi offers a clear-eyed and surprising look at the perilous chances they took, while also recounting how these events led to years of animal rights activism, culminating in the creation of her very own big cats preserve, Shambala. And yet, through it all, Tippi shows how her career and life have continued to embody her unwavering devotion-to her daughter Melanie, to her animal rights activism, to her humanitarian relief work overseas, and to her art.Hedren's incandescent spirit shines through as she talks about working with the great Charlie Chaplin, sharing the screen with some of the most esteemed actors in Hollywood, her experiences on some of the most intriguing and troubling film sets-including filming Roar, one of the most dangerous movies ever made-and the struggles of being a single mother-balancing her dedication to her work and her devotion to her daughter-and her commitment to helping animals.Filled with sixteen pages of beautiful photos, Tippi is a rare and fascinating look at a private woman's remarkable life no fan can miss.

 

“Exotic animals may seem fun and like extravagant, novel gifts, but there are tremendous risks involved.” - Born Free USA’s CEO

Washington, D.C., November 28, 2016 -- With the holiday shopping and gift-giving season upon us, Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, wants to remind everyone about the serious dangers of giving a live animal as a pet. In particular, the purchase of exotic animals as gifts is a concerning phenomenon. As revealed in last month’s report from Born Free USA, Downloading Cruelty: An Investigation into the Online Sales of Exotic Pets in the U.S., there is a widespread online trade of exotic animals as “pets," including monkeys, lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, kangaroos, foxes, snakes, sloths, and more. All of these animals can be available with just one click online, making them far too easy to bring home this holiday season. 

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “Exotic animals may seem like fun, extravagant, and novel gifts, but the reality is that they have tremendously complex needs that require extensive care and commitment. While it is incredibly easy to buy a snake, sugar glider, or fox online, that does not mean that it will be easy to have that animal in your home. Despite claims made by exotic animal breeders, not one of these animals is “tame.” Purchasing an exotic animal as a holiday present perpetuates the abusive circumstances of breeding and captivity, and puts people at risk by exposing them to a wild animal who belongs IN the wild.”

As demonstrated in the Downloading Cruelty report, the enormous popularity of internet shopping has significant repercussions for the trade in exotic animals as pets, because animals who were never offered at a pet store are now visible and available from breeders around the country. The ease of acquiring them over the internet parallels the continuously-growing demand. Since the buyer cannot see the animal beyond a photo, and the shipping and payment options make the purchase simple and fast, the buyer is unlikely to have taken into account or understand the long-term care implications.

Roberts added, “An exotic animal is one of the most dangerous gifts you could give someone. There have been hundreds of attacks on humans that demonstrate the severe threat they pose, and they can also transmit serious and potentially deadly diseases to humans, including salmonella and hepatitis. Protect both animals and your loved ones, and don’t give the present of a monkey, a snake, a turtle, or any other living creature this holiday season. “

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

For the complete report and more, go to www.bornfreeusa.org/DownloadingCruelty.

 

Washington, D.C., November 21, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in wildlife conservation and animal welfare, decries the deplorable conditions in which 15 exotic animals were found last week living inside a Pahrump, Nevada home. Law enforcement reportedly discovered three lions, one Bengal tiger, eight Canadian Siberian lynx hybrid cats, one panther, one serval caracal hybrid cat, and one fennec fox locked in rooms and cages amid their own waste.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “The circumstances these wild animals were kept in as ‘pets’ is heart wrenching, but this type of tragedy occurs with alarming frequency, sometimes resulting in human injury or death, not to mention the horrific cruelty to the animals. A lion belongs on the plains of Africa, not in a filthy cage. A panther belongs in a rainforest, not locked away in a bedroom. A fennec fox deserves to be in a den with his mate, not trapped near predators that he cannot escape from. It is utterly selfish and despicable to even think that keeping a wild animal caged inside a home is a good idea.”

The Born Free USA Exotic Animal Incidents Database provides a startling reminder of how frequently exotic pet incidents occur. Since 2000, there have been more than 1,500 escapes, injuries, deaths, and other health and legal issues involving wild animals kept in a home. At least 36 people have died from attacks, including children, neighbors, and first responders.

Kate Dylewsky, Program Associate at Born Free USA and captive exotic animal expert, explains, “It is a miracle that none of the animals in this Nevada home escaped and no one was mauled before law enforcement stepped in. Police officers are not trained to deal with 400-pound wild cats, nor should they have to be. However, the burden of protecting both the community and the welfare of exotic pets falls on the shoulders of brave officers who put their lives on the line. It is time to take the safety of our first responders and our communities more seriously, and outlaw exotic pet ownership.”

Nevada does not have a law prohibiting the ownership of many exotic animals, including big cats, wolves, and primates. There is also no federal law to restrict or oversee private ownership of these species, resulting in a largely unregulated breeding industry and pet trade. If not for the animal cruelty statute that enabled law enforcement officers to inspect the property, it would have been entirely legal for the owners of these 15 dangerous animals to continue keeping them imprisoned.

Roberts continued, “The exploitation of animals and the threats to human safety that result from exotic pet ownership are preventable. Wild animals are not pets. They have their own needs and rights: freedoms that the animals kept in this Nevada home have been cruelly denied. Now that they have been rescued, they should go to sanctuaries where they can live as natural a life as possible, and we should outlaw exotic pet ownership entirely so that we are not faced with this situation ever again.”

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

 

 “It is immensely cruel and dangerous to keep them in captivity.” - CEO Adam M. Roberts

Washington, D.C., April 19, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, condemns University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) defensive end Robert Nkemdiche’s announced plan this week to purchase a panther “when he is drafted into the NFL,” and urges him to find a more compassionate way to celebrate. Defending his plan, Nkemdiche insisted, “They’re like cats,” and said that if a guest is scared, he’ll “put the panther away.”

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and Born Free Foundation, “Panthers, like other exotic animals, may seem like a novel or stylish pet to buy, but the reality is that it is immensely cruel and dangerous to keep them in captivity. Nkemdiche is drawn to them because he believes a big cat will set him apart, but acquiring a panther would just mark him as callous and irresponsible. Not only would this purchase be devastating for the panther he acquires, but he is also using his celebrity status to set a terrible example. People like to emulate celebrities, and so he is encouraging others to participate in the brutal exotic pet trade, as well.”

The epidemic of big cat ownership threatens public safety. According to the Born Free USA Exotic Animal Incidents Database, reported incidents involving captive big cats have resulted in the deaths of at least 23 people since 1999, five of them children. In many cases, the animals were shot and killed, often by first responders who were neither trained nor properly equipped to handle the situations.

Private big cat ownership also subjects the cats to cruel mistreatment. They frequently come from a vicious breeding cycle in which babies are separated from their mothers and sold as cubs. Pet big cats are often declawed and defanged in an effort to "tame" them, and are kept in cramped cages, fed unnatural diets, and deprived of contact with other members of their species.

Roberts adds, “A panther is like a house cat as much as a hyena is like a Chihuahua: definitely not domesticated, and never suitable for life inside a home. I strongly urge Nkemdiche to find a more humane way to celebrate.”

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

West Virginia is one of only eight states that lack any substantive restrictions for wild and exotic animals kept by private individuals

Washington, DC, January 21, 2014 -- Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, applauds West Virginia state senator Bob Beach (D- Monongalia) for introducing S.B. 371 -- “Prohibiting Possession of Wild and Exotic Animals.”  The bill seeks to improve animal welfare and protect the public from potentially dangerous exotic animals by enacting stricter regulations on exotic animal ownership. West Virginia is one of only eight states that lack any substantive restrictions for wild and exotic animals kept by private individuals, and Senator Beach’s bill would fix this glaring and dangerous legal oversight.

Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA said, “The exotic pet trade is immeasurably cruel to wild animals. These so-called ‘pets,’ endure miserable conditions in captivity – they are usually locked up, isolated, and deprived of the ability to express their natural behaviors. Private owners often extract their teeth and fingernails, among other barbaric practices, in an attempt to ‘tame’ them.  Wild animals belong in the wild and can never be tamed. We cannot allow animals to be mutilated in the name of so-called companionship.”

S.B. 371 would ban the private possession of all “wild and exotic animals” in West Virginia, which are defined as any animals other than domestics and livestock. Exotic animals owned prior to the enactment of this bill can be kept, as long as the owner obtains a permit. The bill is narrowly crafted to ensure that only private owners are affected.  This bill does not apply to accredited exhibitors, nonprofits, animal control agencies, wildlife rehabilitators, veterinary clinics, sanctuaries, researchers, or educational institutions.

“It is time for West Virginia to follow the lead of 42 other states and pass legislation regulating exotic pet ownership,” said Roberts. “Senator Beach has made a powerful statement by introducing this bill, and I hope these long-overdue safeguards are implemented in West Virginia.”

These safeguards are crucial not only for animal welfare, but also for the protection of communities. Born Free USA maintains a database that tracks incidents involving exotic pets (www.bornfreeusa.org/database). Since 2000, there have been at least seven reported incidents in West Virginia of exotic pets escaping and threatening public safety.  In Huntington, a 13-year-old girl suffered injuries after being bitten by a “pet” capuchin monkey. In Berkeley County, another monkey who was suspected of having hepatitis B bit three children. Wild and exotic animals can not only injure people, but also pose a disease risk. Primates alone can transmit Ebola, tuberculosis, and herpes-B to humans.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade.  Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.  More at www.bornfreeusa.org, at Twitter www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and on Facebook facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

Born on January 19, 1930, actress Tippi Hedren was discovered by Alfred Hitchcock, who cast her in her two most notable films, The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964). She later appeared in Roar (1981), which she also produced,

Deadly Spygames (1989) and Citizen Ruth (1996). In 1972, she founded the Roar Foundation and Shambala Preserve, an animal preserve outside Los Angeles. Hedren is the mother of actress Melanie Griffith.

Acting Career

Actress Tippi Hedren was born Nathalie Kay Hedren on January 19, 1930, in New Ulm, Michigan, to Bernard Carl Hedren and Dorothea Henrietta (Eckhardt) Hedren. Hedren was discovered by Alfred Hitchcock, who cast her in her two most notable films, The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964).

Hedren's later films include Roar (1981), which she also produced; Deadly Spygames (1989); and Citizen Ruth (1996). Additionally, she has appeared in several television movies, including Birds 2: The Land's End (1994).

More recently, Hedren was cast in the film I Heart Huckabees (2004) and starred in the TV movie Tribute (2009), which aired on the Lifetime network and also starred Brittany Murphy.

October 2012 marked the debut of HBO's The Girl, a film based on the Donald Spoto novel Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies, which details the famous director's relationships with several film actresses, including Hedren. In recent years, Hedren has publicly discussed her working relationship with Hitchcock; according to Hedren, Hitchcock made several aggressive sexual advances toward her while they were working on The Birds and Marnie, and when she rejected him, he treated her coldly. The Girl stars Toby Jones (Alfred Hitchcock) and actress Sienna Miller (Hedren).

Life Off-Screen

Outside of acting, Hedren has been involved in various projects. Among them, she has dedicated her life to animal rescue efforts. In 1972, she founded the Roar Foundation and Shambala Preserve, an animal preserve outside Los Angeles. It houses over 65 animals. Shambala also became the home for Michael Jackson's two Bengal tigers after he closed his Neverland zoo.  WWW.SHAMBALA.ORG

Hedren is the mother of actress Melanie Griffith. She was married to Peter Griffith, Griffith's father, for nearly a decade, from 1952 to 1961. She has since been married twice, to Noel Marshall (1964-1982) and Luis Barrenechea (1985-1995), and in recent years, has been romantically linked to Martin Dinnes.

Senate bill introduced this week

Washington D.C., February 3, 2012 -- West Virginia is one of only eight states left (Alabama, Idaho, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Wisconsin), lacking any restriction or oversight for the private possession of exotic animals.  Born Free USA, a recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, is working to put an end to the epidemic of exotic animals as “pets” in this country.

In the aftermath of October’s Zanesville, Ohio animal tragedy, Born Free USA and Senate President Jeffrey Kessler (D-Marshall) have introduced Senate Bill 477, an historic initiative aimed at limiting possession of exotic animals. Only individuals in possession of exotics on the bill’s effective date would be allowed to keep them as long as they first comply with strict safeguards.

According to Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, “It is time for West Virginia to place strong restrictions on the private possession of exotics. Keeping these animals as a ‘pet’ is inhumane and these animals are incapable of ever being domesticated - - they are dangerous to the public, highly unpredictable, and most people cannot provide the care, housing, diet and maintenance they require.”

Despite daily incidents that put animals and the public in danger, people continue to want wild animals as pets, as documented in Born Free USA’s Exotic Animal Incidents Database (www.bornfreeusa.org/database).  Roberts explains, “Wild animals belong in the wild, and until there is government action, animals will continue to suffer and people will be put in life-threatening situations. We are grateful to President Kessler for introducing this critical bill.”

"This bill is about protecting the public and the animals," says Kessler. "There is a difference between a Siamese cat and a coyote, a Bernese mountain dog and a mountain lion. Wild animals belong in the wild."  

The bill requires the state’s Division of Natural Resources, in consultation with the state Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Public Health, to establish a comprehensive list of exotic animals and to strive to create a database that tracks all exotic animals kept in private possession. All three agencies must work together to develop an emergency response plan for emergent situations involving exotic animals.

Only individuals in possession of exotics on the effective date of the new law would be allowed to keep exotics as long as they apply, on an annual basis, for a permit and abide by strict safeguards, including certifying that they have not been convicted of local or state cruelty, neglect, or other animal mistreatment charges; obtaining liability insurance; having a plan for the quick and safe recapture of the animal should it escape; providing cost of the animal’s placement and care if confiscated by authorities; and notifying the state when care can no longer be provided for the animal.

Born Free USA’s Exotic Animal Incidents database includes several incidents in West Virginia. For example, in Pocahontas County there was a case that involved a tiger who escaped from his enclosure, and then was shot and killed by his possessor. Another incident involved a child in Huntington who suffered injuries after being bitten by a pet capuchin monkey.

Roberts continues: “Every year captive exotic animals are involved in incidents that result in human injury or death. How many more incidents and state resources will it take before West Virginia makes a change? In order to protect children, communities, and the animals themselves, statewide legislation is needed.”

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade.  Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.  More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA