An Increase in suspicious dead and live exotic animal dumping across the USA appears directly related to the legislation banning private ownership of exotic and wild animals

“False reports of big cats on the loose, or suspicious dumping of animals coinciding with introduction of exotic animal related legislation makes me wonder if there is more than simple drunken college kid pranks going on. I suspect an organized effort on the part of a certain segment of the extreme animal rights community. By instantly blaming private pet owners and increasing fear of exotic animal attacks during the legislative session, they influence the legislators into passing taxpayer’s money wasting bills at the height of media hysteria these news reports create” Once is an accident, twice is coincidence, three times is a terrorist act.
(Adapted from James Bond movie dialog)  

Las Vegas, NV, February 2, 2007–What Gahanna lions couldn’t do, a frozen snake found on January 30, 2007 near Middletown, Ohio might, if animal rights (AR) activists have their way.

Now that the reports of the lions on the loose in Gahanna of Ohio made it to the Museum Weblog of “The Museum of Hoaxes“, a dead boa constrictor might test some snake oil on Ohio legislators as Representative George Distel is about to introduce another unnecessary piece of legislation severely restricting private possession and ownership of wild and exotic animals.

The Ohio Association of Animal Owners (http://www.oaao.us/) President Victoria Galle’ states: “All incidents/accidents involving any animal need to be addressed through the existing laws of that area.”

“Animals are personal property; and we oppose legislation that restricts the private ownership or use of animals, or that inhibits free trade of any animal provided it meets Ohio Department of Agriculture testing and import requirements” adds Polly Britton, OAAO secretary.

“Being originally from Europe, I am quite used to amusing false reports of big cats in the UK or Loch Ness monster in the Scottish Countryside”, says Zuzana Kukol, a Nevada tiger trainer and co-founder of “Responsible Exotic Animal Ownership”, http://www.rexano.org/, a new free web resource designed to give tools and statistics based research material to private owners of exotic and wild animals to fight unfair legislation.

“False reports of big cats on the loose, or suspicious dumping of animals coinciding with introduction of exotic animal related legislation makes me wonder if there is more than simple drunken college kid pranks going on. I suspect an organized effort on the part of a certain segment of the extreme animal rights community. By instantly blaming private pet owners and increasing fear of exotic animal attacks during the legislative session, they influence the legislators into passing taxpayer’s money wasting bills at the height of media hysteria these news reports create” adds Kukol.

In January 2007, a dead alligator was found in the dump in Gary, Indiana, coinciding with the introduction of exotic animal regulation by Indiana State Senator Connie Sipes. Two AR groups responsible for helping to write the bill, HSUS and API, known for having a goal of ending all and any captive keeping of exotic and wild animals, were ready the same day with their press release praising Sipes who is quoted “Wild animals belong in the wild, not in our backyards.”

“While Senator Sipes is entitled to her opinion, it is not very feasible in the real world as most of the wild habitat is disappearing and the only chance to save many animals such as tigers from extinction is captive breeding with the private sector having the majority of available habitat” says Scott Shoemaker of REXANO.

“Wild animals kept in untrained hands in our communities pose a serious threat to Indiana residents,” said Senator Sipes.

“Making such blanket uninformed and factless statements like these is a clear red flag to question the real motives behind these bills, since only one person gets killed by captive big cats and 1.5 by captive reptiles in the USA per year, and the majority are handlers/owners themselves, or people voluntarily on the property where the animals are being kept” says Kukol.

“Nobody has ever been killed in the USA since 1990 as a result of a captive big cat or reptile at large” adds Shoemaker.

These low captive animal attack related fatality numbers include zoos and wildlife sanctuaries that would be exempted from Sipes’ bill.

Indiana and Ohio are not the only occurrences of an enemy action taking place. Dead or harmless baby animals are routinely released during legislative sessions to increase media attention and create an artificial atmosphere of irresponsible exotic owners being all over the place dumping their pets.

In January 2007, a Cape Fear Serpentarium in Wilmington, North Carolina received a staged phone call about an anaconda on the loose supposedly eating a pet dog. The caller forgot to consider that the temperature was in the 30’s at night and low 50’s during the day, too cold for a cold blooded anaconda to be that active.

Lorraine Smith, Curator of Mammals at the tax funded Asheboro Zoo is one of the proponents of this bill. Her zoo would be of course exempt and have a total monopoly on exotic animals at North Carolina should the proposed and soon to be introduced bill pass.

Two years earlier, in January 2005, two baby tigers were found near Charlotte, NC and Ashboro Zoo, which has been pushing for several years to have state regulations established to restrict private ownership of dangerous animals, was quick to take the tigers on a temporary basis. This 2005 incident also coincided with the bill that was introduced in that session of the State Legislature to establish a law on restricting the private ownership of these animals, and Lorraine Smith conveniently used it to spout her propaganda against private exotic animal ownership. Zoo press release claimed the cubs were malnourished, but their own pictures say otherwise.

In September 2006, a properly crated baby mountain lion was found at the door of a privately owned Las Vegas zoo in Nevada, shortly before the adjacent Nye County was about to have a hearing on their proposed domestic and exotic animal ordinance. Although reported to be malnourished to increase the sympathy for the supposed ‘plight of exotics in captivity’, the cougar pictures clearly show the animal was in good health.

In April 2006 news reported that two “wild cats” were spotted at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland (home to Air Force One), just a day before President George W. Bush was to return from Florida. Did ‘somebody’ want to direct his attention to big cats running loose and prime him for the July 26, 2006, introduction of H.R.5909, also known as Haley’s act? The bill introduced by U.S. Representative Jim Ryun (R-KS) would have, in effect, banned any public contact with the exotic cats regardless of their age or size. No big cat or proof of one was found.

In Ohio, the year 2004 was full of “Gahanna lion” sightings, since Ohio legislators tried for many years to enact exotic animal legislation only to be met with a strong resistance from the concerned animal owners.

In October 2004 news reported a dead cougar dumped on the road in Kansas on the same day the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Department discussed proposed regulations on exotic cats.

September 2001, a baby mountain lion boarded a ‘conveniently’ empty school bus in Las Vegas, Clark County, NV, coinciding with multiple hearings on a proposed county exotic animal ordinance. This incident was used by the proponents of this ordinance as an excuse to heavily regulate these animals, even though Nevada wildlife state department already regulates native species like cougars and bobcats.

And in December 1999 in Michigan, a 10 week old lion cub miraculously appeared on the grounds of the Belle Isle Zoo in Detroit, whose director is Ron Kagan (Kagan’s animal rights leanings are so strong that he won “2004 PETA progress Award” for supposedly making the Detroit Zoo the first zoo to voluntarily close its elephant exhibit for ethical reasons). This happened a few weeks before the House Committee was scheduled to discuss and just few days after the Senate passed the “Large carnivore act”. The act not surprisingly became a law later in 2000.

The lion cub was adopted by the Michigan Humane Society who helped introduce this legislation. The incident was as usual blamed on private pet owners, but seems to be conspicuously missing from all AR websites reports on feline related incidents, many going back to 1990 (reporting false sightings with no cat or even print being found), yet this one is omitted. One can only wonder why.

 

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