Pennsylvania town to vote on exotic pet ordinance

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Published: November 3, 2009

Freeland Council continued its meeting to December so it can vote on a proposed exotic pet ordinance.

The ordinance stems from an incident last week, when two pet pythons were reported missing from an Adams Street home, which alarmed several neighbors enough to ask council to ban some pets considered dangerous.

Anyone that keeps a pet defined as exotic or wild by the proposed ordinance is subject to a $1,000 fine, 30 days in prison or both, for each day the violation exists.

The proposed ordinance also bans the breeding, sale, adoption or transfer of pets considered exotic or wild.

The ordinance also provides rules for anyone that owns an exotic or wild pet in the borough now. Essentially, the ordinance states people must own the pet prior to Monday night’s council meeting, when council announced it would advertise the ordinance for 30 days.

Those pet owners can get a $300 permit and non-conforming use status for the animal pending zoning officer approval and if they meet certain criteria set by the ordinance. Those criteria include no prior health or safety problems against the pet owner. The owner must also fill out an application that includes the animal’s species, age and sex and a plan for housing the animal to prevent escape. The pet is also not allowed to roam in public freely.

When the pet dies or is removed from the home it can’t be replaced.

The permit must be obtained within 30 days of council adopting the ordinance.

Anyone that keeps a wild or exotic pet in violation of the ordinance must get rid of the animal or give it to the borough police department. Officers are allowed to release the animal to the wild, a zoo, or “dispose” of it in a humane manner, depending on the type of animal. The animal’s owner will pay the borough for the cost of removal or placement. The ordinance would be enforced by borough code, zoning, police and possibly a building code inspector.

Council will vote on the ordinance at its continued meeting. Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. Once the ordinance is advertised it will be available for public inspection at the borough.

The two snakes reported missing Wednesday prompted Freeland police and fire departments to conduct a search of the neighborhood around 345 Adams St., looking for a nine-foot long and a four-foot long python.

Nicole Composto of 343 Adams St. who lives in the other half of the double home where the snakes went missing was so scared that she, her husband, Steve, and two small children stayed with a relative until Saturday night. At Monday’s council meeting, Composto thanked the borough for its quick action in dealing with the issue and for arranging for a Vector Control exterminator to inspect the homes and try to locate the smaller snake, which is still at large.

The larger snake was found later that night but the smaller python still remains at large. Solicitor Donald Karpowich said, when talking to the snake’s owner, he was told the snake likely died because its body can’t handle the cold weather.

Resident Nick Lapchak, who attended Monday’s council meeting said many people in the neighborhood were worried about the missing pythons.

Councilman John Budda asked if pit bulls could be added to the list of banned animals. Karpowich said he didn’t think it could, but noted any dog that harms a human being or has a history of aggressive behavior is banned. Sgt. Rob Maholik said the ordinance should include any dog that harms a human or another animal and Karpowich agreed to add that to the law. Animals considered wild or exotic and, according to the ordinance, are banned from becoming pets in a Freeland home, include but aren’t limited to:

Amphibians – All venomous frogs, toads, turtles.


Felines – Lions, pumas, panthers, mountain lions, leopards, jaguars, ocelots, margays, tigers, bobcats and wild cats. It excludes common domesticated cats.

Crocodilians – All alligators, caimans, crocodiles and gavials.

Dogs – Wolf, fox, coyote, dingo or the offspring of a domestic dog that was bred with such types. Also, any dog that bites, injures or attacks a human being without being provoked, or any dog deemed dangerous under state law is banned.

Pigs – All wild or domesticated swine, excluding certified Vietnamese potbellied pigs.

Reptiles – All venomous and constricting snakes, such as boa constrictors, pythons and all venomous lizards.

Venomous invertebrates – Such as spiders and scorpions.

In addition, porcupines, skunks, sub-human primates, raccoons, civets, weasels, martens, mink, wolverines, ferrets, badgers, otters, ermine and mongoose.

Vietnamese potbellied pigs must be certified as such by a nationally recognized registry or a licensed veterinarian, they must also be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and can’t be bred. Owners must also keep proper documentation if they were advised against vaccination by a licensed veterinarian.

Domesticated ferrets are allowed but must be de-scented, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and not allowed to wander freely outside. Proper vaccination documentation on the pet ferret must be shown to a borough official upon request. Ferret breeding is banned.

– Amanda Christman


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Jaguar cubs born at Indiana zoo

Jaguar Cubs Born at Mesker

Reported by: Web Producer

Friday, Nov 6, 2009 @10:44am CST

News Release:
From: City of Evansville, Mesker Park Zoo
Jaguar Cubs Born at AMAZONIA, Forest of Riches

(EVANSVILLE, IN)- The City of Evansville and Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden are pleased to announce the birth of two female jaguar cubs. The cubs were born on September 22, 2009, to Cuxtal and Beliza, the Zoo’s male and female jaguars at AMAZONIA, Forest of Riches.

“When AMAZONIA opened its doors a little over one year ago, we had high hopes for the exhibit and for the breeding program. We’ve experienced record attendance at the Zoo thanks to AMAZONIA, and now we are thrilled with the birth of these two jaguar cubs,” said Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel. “It’s quite amazing when you stop to think how rare jaguars are at zoos that we could have 2 adults and 2 cubs right here in Evansville. It is truly a great accomplishment and a reason for our Zoo staff to be extremely proud.”

The cubs will not go on exhibit for another two weeks at AMAZONIA, but there will be a way to monitor their progress 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Live streaming video from inside the jaguar den will be available at, presented by Woods and Woods, LLP. Two “jagcams” will provide a window into the cats’ world any time, day or night. The Zoo will also hold an online naming contest for the cubs which will begin when they go on display.

“This is a significant addition to the Zoo & Botanic Garden, as well as a success story for zoo conservation. AMAZONIA is not only exemplary for our profession but also a roaring success for the animals and our visitors! This is truly a ‘Wow Factor’ to be working with the cubs and will be incredibly rewarding to watch our visitors experience their growth,” said Amos Morris, Executive Director, Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden. “We use successful births as a benchmark of great care. AMAZONIA is the result of what a dedicated staff can achieve with the right resources.”

The birth of the cubs highlights the success of the Zoo’s breeding program. As of 2007, there were only about 44 jaguars in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Jaguar Species Survival Plan (SSP) Program, making the jaguar exhibit at AMAZONIA a truly special and unique attraction the whole family will enjoy throughout the year.

Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden is one of only 19 zoos in the country participating in the AZA SSP Program. The mission of an AZA SSP Program is to manage and conserve a select and typically threatened or endangered species population outside of their natural habitat with the required cooperation of AZA accredited institutions. The program exemplifies animal conservation at its best in zoos and out in the field. The goal is to have a self-sustaining captive animal population so zoos may contribute to conservation education through exhibiting and preserving rare and endangered species.

“AMAZONIA, Forest of Riches, an immersive South American Rainforest exhibit, opened at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden on August 4, 2008. The exhibit has proven to be a successful tool in teaching the public about conservation and biodiversity as well as drawing a record number of Zoo visitors. AMAZONIA was also designed to serve as a breeding facility for jaguars.


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Baby jaguar at Florida zoo turns one

Reported by: Glenn Glazer
Last Update: 8:44 am

Baby jaguar turns one year old

WEST PALM BEACH, FL–At the Palm Beach Zoo, back beyond the tranquil water and wooden paths, there’s a party brewing!

“Happy Birthday Maya,” yells a group of children as they look into a cage.

It’s a party for Maya, the baby jaguar.

“Big day at the zoo, it’s Maya’s first birthday. So not only do we get to celebrate Maya’s birthday, we’ve got the children here, we have all kinds of festivities,” said Keith Lovett, Director of Living Collections for the Palm Beach Zoo.

Jaguars are an endangered species, and only the Palm Beach Zoo and a handful of other zoos, are successfully breeding them.

“So this is a very important program, not only for guests that come to see this magnificent species, but also for the worldwide conservation of this species in general,” said Lovett.

So what does a one year old jaguar do on her birthday? You know, the typical one year old jaguar things.

First things first, a little dip in the pool and then a little stroll on over to get a photographer’s camera wet.

Then a little birthday piñata, although Maya has to figure out what the heck it is first. After trying several different angles of attack, success! She tears the piñata down from its chain. What a big girl Maya has become in just a year.

The question is, what is next for Maya? Typically cubs only stay with their moms for about a year and half or so.

“The most important thing, our responsibility is to make sure she gets into a breeding situation and that she has an excellent long term home. So whether that’s here or at another great zoo, we’re going to be happy either way,” said Lovett.

Soon the partygoers file out, leaving Maya and what’s left of her piñata to relax. But she seemed to enjoy the company so maybe you should stop by and say hi, while Maya’s still hanging out in West Palm Beach.

“It’s unique to be able to watch an animal grow up at your local zoo. So, it’s a great opportunity for the children and the adults alike,” said Lovett.


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Florida: Jaguar euthanized after condition deteriorates

Dave Wax Taren Reed
Created: 10/8/2009 3:53:46 PM Updated: 10/8/2009 4:00:25 PM

JACKSONVILLE, FL — Jacksonville has lost a senior Jaguar.

Bruno was 16-years-old and in poor health, so the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens had to euthanize him.

Bruno was captured in Venezuela in 1998 after killing cattle there.

He was sent here, where the zoo has a relationship with South American countries to help conserve wildlife.

Gina Stiles with the Zoo says they take in animals that are either a danger, like Bruno, or a hindrance because they were raised by people and can’t fend for themselves.

Bruno’s condition, which affected his central nervous system, had deteriorated to the point where he could no longer feed himself.

Monday, he stood up, which zoo officials took as a good sign, but he could not walk, so he was euthanized.

The zoo now has seven of the big cats, including Bruno’s adopted sister
from Venezuela, 17-year-old Gigi.


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Belize: Jaguar biologist will be senator

Jaguar Man Will Become UDP Senator
posted (July 16, 2009)

Omar Figueroa, you met him on this newscast back in April when he was trapping and tracking jaguars and pumas in the Belize District. Well, he’s still a field biologist but instead of being called the Jaguar Man, we’ll now have to call him the Honorable Jaguar Man. That’s because Figueroa has been named the UDP Senator-designate from the Cayo District.

The vacancy comes up because Deborah Macmillan who has been the UDP Senator from the west for the last three years is leaving take up a post at a U.S. university. There were two possible names for the post, popular UDP friend Wilmot Simmons and Fiegueroa who is less known nationally but well respected in Cayo.

The Prime Minister is expected to shortly advise the governor general to make the appointment. Figueroa’s ascension to the senate is seen as a major boost for the conservation movement.

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