Black Pine wants state to ban exotic pets

Comes after rescued lion dies of kidney failure

Updated: Saturday, 11 Dec 2010, 9:38 AM EST

Published : Friday, 10 Dec 2010, 6:27 PM EST


ALBION, Ind. (WANE) – A rescued lion living in an Albion animal sanctuary died this week of kidney failure, but his caretakers say his death could’ve been prevented if Indiana prohibited the ownership of exotic pets.

According to his caretakers, Kovu was at least 10 years old, and recovering from a number of health problems.

“It was pretty devastating,” said Lori Gagen, director of the Black Pine Animal Sanctuary where Kovu was staying. “It was very difficult to realize he wasn’t going to be able to take yet another step.”

Gagen says lots of people own exotic animals like Kovu and many neglect them.

“Lions, tigers, monkeys… it’s very common,” said Gagen. “I can guarantee you today that if you could look deep enough in people’s backyards and back bedrooms, there’s all kinds of stuff living around us.”

Gagen said Kovu’s rough past brought him to Black Pine. Kovu lived in a lion ranch in northwest Indiana. Gagen say he probably developed kidney disease there.

“There’s a good chance he was deprived of water on a routine basis,” said Gagen.

The ranch lost its federal license.

Indiana doesn’t have a law that prohibits keeping these types of animals. Owners must have a state-issued permit for each exotic animal.

Gagen hopes Kovu’s death will urge lawmakers to prohibit ownership altogether.

“Bottom line is unless there’s legislation in your county, city, or state, we’re gonna continually have to deal with this.”

Most sanctuaries like Black Pine take care of neglected and abused animals with limited resources, relying solely on volunteers and donations. If you want to help, you can find out how by clicking here .


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