Responses to Big Cats? and Other Exotic Animals? Fates in Ohio

Animal groups urge action after a tragedy leads to the death of 38 big cats this week.

By Anastasia Thrift | Posted: October 21, 2011, 3 a.m. EDT

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The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have responded to the tragedy in Ohio this week when 49 lions, tigers and other exotic animals were killed by authorities. The big cats and other animals escaped a private farm whose owner allegedly opened their cages before taking his life on Oct. 18.

The ASPCA urged Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to immediately issue an emergency order restricting the sale and possession of exotic animals.

The AVMA, too, issued a reminder to the public that individuals should never own wild and/or exotic animals. Since 2006, an AVMA policy has urged lawmakers to ban private ownership of wild and exotic animals because they pose a significant risk to public health, domestic animals and native ecosystems and species. The only exceptions to this policy are for recognized research and conservation programs.

A Change.org campaign also urges Governor Kasich to ban exotic animal sales. The Humane Society of the United States has voiced the same opinion in a release as well.

According to news reports, six of the 56 animals let loose from the farm were taken to the Columbus Zoo. Of the 49 deaths, nine male lions, eight lionesses, three mountain lions and 18 Bengal tigers, were killed, according to the Muskingum County sheriff’s office. Three leopards are among the surviving animals.
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Responses to Big Cats? and Other Exotic Animals? Fates in Ohio

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Reader Comments

Shirley    Tucson, AZ

10/31/2011 4:05:24 PM

This is very, very sad.

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

10/23/2011 10:52:33 PM

This was a terrible tragedy that makes me feels sick. But I do believe that people should be allowed to own exotic animals. There will always be irresponsible people and idiots but there are plenty of decent folks out there too.

We have enough cases of domesticated animals being abused too. It's not exactly new. Why it is worse if it happens to an exotic animal? I think both are just terrible.

walt    ludowici, GA

10/23/2011 4:18:50 PM

What a disaster and there are more in the making

Jody    Phoenix, AZ

10/23/2011 12:05:42 PM

Seeing this happen made me ill to the point of crying. This should never have happened. People should not be able to own wild or exotic animals, except for conservancies that are recognized and/or licensed. I hope laws are passed so that I never see this happen again.

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