Will Chehalis City Council end public display of dangerous wild animals?

Will Chehalis City Council end public display of dangerous wild animals?

02/27/08

Hands-on wild animal event outrages national animal advocacy group
Will Chehalis City Council end public display of dangerous wild animals?
Seattle, WA — Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute (Born
Free USA) today called on Chehalis City Council to prohibit public displays
of wild and exotic animals. This request is a direct response to last
weekend’s gathering of the Phoenix Exotic Wildlife Association at Yard Birds
Mall, where, according to Born Free USA, the public was put at risk by
allowing people, including children, to have direct contact with dangerous
and unpredictable wild animals owned by Predators of the Heart.

“The risk that someone is going to get hurt or worse is very real and
frightening,” said Nicole G. Paquette, Esq., Senior Vice President and
General Counsel for Born Free USA. “Born Free USA has documented evidence of
more than 30 injuries and deaths caused by captive wild and exotic animals
in the U.S. in the last two years alone. In reality, that figure is likely
to be considerably higher. Washington State already banned the private
possession of dangerous wild animals; individual cities now need to step up
and take the extra precaution of banning all public display of these animals
to ensure public safety.”

In 2007, Born Free USA (then the Animal Protection Institute) co-sponsored
HB 1418, which successfully banned the private possession of dangerous wild
animals in Washington State. People currently possessing listed species
under the bill, such as Washington state members of the Phoenix Exotic
Wildlife Association, can keep their animals for the remainder of the animal
‘s life but may not then replace the animal. At the time, Washington was one
of only 11 states that did not restrict this dangerous practice.

The year before, our organization filed a complaint with the United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA) documenting violations of the federal
Animal Welfare Act by Predators of the Heart owner David Coleburn. This
complaint documented various instances where our investigators were allowed
repeated, direct contact with bobcats Mr. Coleburn attested he had been
severely injured by in the past.

“Displaying dangerous wild animals and non-native wildlife does not teach
people about wild animals and the survival challenges they face in their
natural habitats,” adds Paquette. “The owners of these facilities are
playing Russian roulette with people’s lives. Chehalis and other cities
should work to prevent future tragedies, both human and animal, by ending
the public display of dangerous wild and exotic animals.”

Born Free USA (www.bornfreeusa.org) is a national non-profit animal welfare
and conservation organization and a member of the Captive Wild Animal
Protection Coalition (www.cwapc.org).

Contact:
Zibby Wilder, Born Free USA, 916.267.7266

http://www.api4animals.org/press.php?p=1515&more=1


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