LawEnforcement

Law enforcement should not be confronted with dangerous big cats! Federal legislation will end this problem.

Your endorsement will help save lives, tax dollars, and law enforcement resources.

For more information about this important issue or to submit an endorsement from your office, please contact Jennifer Leon, (813) 393-6066, Jennifer.Leon@BigCatRescue.org.

The Big Cat Public Safety Act is a commonsense and urgently needed solution to the problem of dangerous big cats kept in unsafe and abusive circumstances in the United States. Tigers, lions, and other exotic cats kept in people’s homes, backyards, and roadside zoos pose a serious and completely unnecessary risk to public safety, law enforcement, and first responders.

The debate over private ownership of big cats garnered national attention in October 2011 when the owner of a backyard menagerie in Zanesville, Ohio, opened the cages of his tigers, leopards, lions, wolves, bears and monkeys before committing suicide. Local police, who were neither trained nor properly equipped to deal with a situation of that magnitude, were forced to shoot and kill nearly 50 animals—38 of them big cats—before they could enter populated areas. In the 3 minute video below Sheriff Lutz, whose officers were placed in danger and suffered emotionally from having to kill the animals, makes a compelling case for the need for this bill:

BACKGROUND

  • An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 big cats are owned as pets or maintained in ill-equipped roadside zoos and traveling exhibits in the United States. Nobody knows for sure how many because no government agency tracks the animals.
  • Since 1990 there have been over 770 dangerous incidents involving big cats – tigers, lions, cougars, and others. Five children and 20 adults have been killed and hundreds of people have been mauled. Big cats pose a serious threat to public safety and the safety of law enforcement officials who must come face to face with these dangerous cats when they escape or attack.
  • Private possession and breeding of big cats contributes to illegal international wildlife trafficking. The illegal trade in big cat parts like bones and skins is big business and there is no way to know how many U.S.-born cats are disposed of or when their parts enter the black market trade.
  • Big cats cannot be domesticated. Unlike companion animals that have been domesticated over centuries, big cats retain their natural instinct to hunt and attack.
  • Private owners are not able to control and manage dangerous big cats. The cats are frequently housed in dilapidated cages that are unlikely to hold them during natural disasters. Law enforcement officers and the public would unnecessarily be put at risk when such disasters strike.
  • This is a problem that requires a federal solution. The regulatory patchwork of laws in our states currently fails to protect public safety, law enforcement, and animal welfare.
  • The Big Cat Public Safety Act will ensure big cats only live in secure facilities that can properly provide for them and do not diminish public safety.

ENDORSEMENTS & IMPORTANT RESOURCES

Big Cat Public Safety Act Law Enforcement Fact Sheet

National Sheriffs’ Association Resolution in support of the Big Cat Public Safety Act

National Animal Care & Control Association [NACA] Endorsement

Florida Animal Care & Control Association [FACA] Endorsement

Letter of support from Muskingum County, Ohio Sheriff Matthew J. Lutz

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