API Investigation Exposes Unregulated Private Ownership of Exotic "Pets"

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New  API Investigation Exposes Unregulated Private Ownership of Exotic  “Pets”


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The  Animal Protection Institute_ ;


(API) today released the results of an extensive investigation into  the largely unregulated

private ownership of exotic wild animals  kept as “pets” or used as “

attractions” at roadside zoos and  menageries. The video footage and accompanying

report are the most  thorough on record and expose disturbing evidence of a lack of

 concern for public safety and animal welfare by both private owners  and

federally-licensed facilities across the  nation.

Throughout  the summer and fall of 2005, API investigated private homes and 

federally-licensed roadside zoos and menageries that housed exotic  animals in

North Carolina, Ohio, and Washington — three states that  currently have no

laws addressing the private ownership of such  animals and their display at

roadside zoos. Major findings  included:

·                          the  widespread practice of organized “close

encounters” where the public  pays to have direct contact with dangerous animals, a

violation of  federal law

·                          reckless  behavior, putting owners and others,

including children, in danger  of attack

·                          an  alarming number of previously unreported

injuries and attacks by  exotic animals on owners and others

·                          poor  care and treatment causing suffering and

distress to  animals

·                          cruel  and inappropriate treatment and handling of

exotic animals,  including the bizarre spectacle of a “primate picnic” where

owners  proudly displayed monkeys dressed in human baby  clothes

·                          an  apparent disregard of various provisions of

federal law by some  facilities licensed by the United States Department of

Agriculture  (USDA)

“API’s  investigation has shown that the few regulations on private 

ownership of exotic animals that do exist fail to protect the public  from the

dangers these animals pose, and do little to protect the  welfare of the animals

themselves,” says Michelle  Thew, Chief Executive Officer of API.  “These exotic

wild animals do not belong in our homes or  neighborhoods. Action has to be

taken now to put an end to the  private ownership of exotic animals before

another tragedy  occurs.”

API  is a leader in the campaign to end the private ownership of exotic 

animals and has played a key role in state and local efforts to  prohibit the

possession of such animals. This ground-breaking  investigation has been launched

at a crucial time, as the dangers  posed by exotic animals continue to hit the

headlines and important  legislative initiatives are currently being

introduced and debated  in a number of key states.

The  investigation includes the production of a DVD, full report, and 

brochure. For more information, please visit _www.api4animals.org_

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an Educational Sanctuary home

to more than 100 big cats

12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

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