Should the U.S. Government Prohibit Ownership of Dangerous Pets?
American Government and Politics
From tigers to crocodiles, it is simple as ABC: they are wild dangerous animals. Nowadays keeping of wild and exotic animals as home pets has become normal practice in the U.S. More and more people brag with the fact of owning tigers, wolves, bears and even crocodiles at home. Often bought as babies, when exotic pets become too much to handle, they cannot be kept in small cages anymore. Even captive-bred wild animals have wild instincts, and smaller animals can attack too. There is also the risk of getting such diseases as: Herpes B virus, Salmonella and even HIV and AIDS. It may come as a surprise that in some states of America wild exotic animals are legal as pets. However, it is not usually taken into consideration, that untamed animals can attack, spread disease, and the average pet owner cannot provide the care they need in imprisonment. Although having dangerous pets at home is already prohibited in some states of America, the U.S. government should ban private ownership of wild pets in the whole country.
Many people are drawn to the ownership of exotic pets without understanding the responsibilities in the adequate care of these creatures. Moreover, they forget about the danger that these animals posses to human life. Jennifer Hillman, Washington State Government Affairs Coordinator for The HSUS, states that, “Wild animals belong in the wild, not in our bedrooms and basements. Keeping them as exotic pets is dangerous for both public safety and the welfare of the animals” (1).
... when deciding where may be the safest place for many wild exotic animals. Just like a weasel instinct that bites his prey ... these amazing animals up close. Do zoo animals live longer than wild one or wild animals live longer than zoo one. Zoo animals versus wild animals can ... things that wild animals can do or learn to do in the wild. A wild animal needs space and freedom. Though animals are safer ...
People should not forget that most of the wild animals are predators. Having at home such animals as tigers, bears or crocodiles is obviously risky; no matter how safe is the cage. The proper example of having wild animal at home can be drawn from fatal experience in Ohio. Brent Kandra, worked for notorious exotic animal owner and exhibitor Sam Mazzola as an animal caretaker, was fatally mauled after he opened a cage to feed one of Mazzola’s black bears” (“A Mother’s Plea”).
“Moreover, Mazzola had four tigers, one lion, eight bears, and a dozen wolves according to his May bankruptcy filing” (“A Mother’s Plea”).
However, such sad consequences might be prevented, if Ohio had statewide rules prohibiting private citizens from getting these animals. According to a database of publicized exotic-pet escapes and attacks since 1990 kept by the animal rights group Born Free USA, “Ohio ranks fifth in the number of episodes that hurt or killed a human — 14” (“States grapple with exotic, dangerous pets”).
Besides, an article by Associated Press reports that, “The leader, Florida, has had 43, followed by Texas with 19, New York with 18 and California with 16. Alabama ties Ohio with 14” (“States grapple with exotic, dangerous pets”).
However, death of Brent Kandra was not ignored by the officials and has pushed to actions Wayne Pacelle, the president and chief executive officer of the Humane Society of the United States. In his report, “Ohioans shouldn’t own exotic animals”, Pacelle provides as with the examples that took place in the other states. “In May 2009, a 10-year-old girl in Columbiana County was mauled by a mountain lion kept as a pet by a friend’s family. The mountain lion and African lions were kept in cages in the yard as a hobby” (Pacelle 2).
He also continues, “Similar incidents occur in other states with lax or nonexistent laws. Most Ohioans won’t forget the Connecticut woman who had surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in 2009 to restore her face after being savagely attacked by a chimpanzee kept as a pet and companion”. Although, most states regulate the keeping of dangerous wild animals, Ohio, no doubt, is out of step. In other words, the state has become something like a gathering place for people who fancy exotic animals.
... in owning exotic animals. People also began to trade the animals as pets. Inside the Exotic Pet Trade states, “The practice of importing and exporting wild animals as pets has ... been happening for decades, and often, entertainment fads determine which wild animals ...
Unquestionably, something needs to be done to avoid such consequences in future. From the landmark agreement between Gov. Ted Strickland, Ohio agricultural leaders and the Humane Society of the United States, we can see that measures are finally under the way. “Along with addressing farm-animal welfare, puppy mills and cockfighting, this agreement will prohibit the private possession of dangerous wild animals such as big cats, bears, wolves, large constricting and venomous snakes, alligators and crocodiles” (Pacelle 2).
According to Pacelle, “Such measures will drastically reduce the chances of deadly wild-animal attacks and all of the suffering this entails. This agreement will move us toward much more humane, safe and sensible rules for wild-animal care” (2).
Some species of animals are unsafe to own. Rare, exotic or unusual pets often fit in this category, however some common animals belong to this category because of the diseases they present. Even common, non-aggressive household pets may pose safety risks. Nowadays more and more researchers and scientists are concerned about the germs and diseases that wild exotic pets may cause. According to Marian Henderson, the author of an article “Banned Pets in the US”, “Toxoplasmosis is one example of a microbe that may become deadly as it moves from animal to human. The threat of infectious disease is the reason that apparently harmless creatures such as 4-inch turtles are banned for sale in the United States” (1).
Surprisingly, that insufficient and harmless from the first sight, turtles present huge risk for human life. However, people continue to ignore the risk and still buy these species. According to report by Lindsay Tanner in the article “Largest Turtle-linked Salmonella Outbreak Detailed”, “The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that the number of pet turtles nationwide doubled from 950,000 in 1996 to almost 2 million in 2006” (Henderson 2).
In other words, unscrupulous vendors still sell turtles.
As an example of how dangerous a disease transferred from animals to humans may become, consider that chimpanzees have been identified as the original carriers of the virus HIV responsible for AIDS. The Center for Disease Control provides us with the report “Basic Information about HIV and AIDS” and explains, “Scientists identified a type of chimpanzee in West Africa as the source of HIV infection in humans” (1).
... wild and exotic animals continue to be imported into the US and sold to incompetent owners. While the opposition will argue that exotic pet ownership can ... provide safe and fulfilling environments for the animals. pet ownership should be banned because home captivity ...
Strictly speaking, purchasing and having at home a chimpanzee may result in obtaining of incurable disease and as a result, death. Another infection that can be attained from wild animals is B-virus. This disease in humans usually results from macaque bites or scratches. According to the report “B-virus from Pet Macaque Monkeys” by Stephanie Ostrowski, “Most free-ranging monkey populations are thought to be part of the exotic fauna of distant tourist destinations and wild animal parks; however, macaque species have established free-ranging feral populations in Texas and Florida” (2).
In other words, Macaque Monkeys are another animal that medical researchers do not recommend as household pets.
The last reason that justifies the need for U.S. government to restrict ownership of exotic pets is illegal way of acquiring them. In fact, pet birds and exotic pets are very popular, and as a result illegal animal trafficking has become a serious problem. In the article “Wildlife Trafficking,” Charles Bergman claims that, “The illegal trade of plants and sale of wild birds and exotic pets is thought to be the third most valuable illicit commerce in the world, after drugs and weapons” (Wyatt 1).
The problem is that people are not interested in having the simple dog or cat anymore. The idea of having a pet such as non-human primates, parrots, reptiles, and even big cats increasingly expanded within the last decades. As a result, the ownership of exotic pets at home brought devastating consequences that not only affect the animals, but an environment as well. According to Emily Kennedy, the author of an article “The Dangers of the Exotic Pet Trade”, “The capture and sale of animals from the wild often includes killing the mother in order to take the young, further increasing the extinction rate of many already endangered animals” (1).
The loss of animals from the wild is extremely dangerous for ecosystems, besides many species are under extinction.
... , you can take better care of a domesticated pet, rather than a wild one. Wild animals are scared easier. How many times have you ... , it is probably too dangerous to keep for a pet. Many wild animals have poisonous venom, or deadly scratches and bites. This can ... ;t do. You should never take an animal from the wild, and keep them as pets. The reasons are pretty clear. I, myself ...
Another danger that poses illegal trading of wild animals is inability of new owners to take care of the pets. Unknowing how to deal with exotic animals, people release them in the wild. “The Everglades in Florida is an example of the negative environmental impact creatures not indigenous render on the balance of nature” (Landeros 1).
Moreover, “Frogs, lizards, fish and other creatures, released by hobbyists have rendered environmental havoc in many places, not just Florida” (Landeros 1).
The main problem of illegal trading of exotic animals is that it is relatively easy to transport an animal from one part of the country to another, since laws are often unknown and misunderstood due to lack of enforcement.
The ideal solution to avoid negative aspects of the exotic pet ownership would be to ban it nationally. The question is – how many accidents have to happen before legislators act to protect the public rather than the interests of a small group of individuals? While some legislation exists, more legislation is needed, as some of the existing laws are outdated. One of the most visible actors to ban ownership of dangerous pets in United States is API, The Animal Protection Institute. Nicole Paquette, Director of Legal and Government Affairs at API, states that, “API has provided clear, documented evidence that the private ownership of dangerous exotic animals presents a real danger to the public” (“Bear attack”).
API is a nationally recognized leader on exotic animal legislation and assists states in drafting and passing legislation. However, if U.S. laws are not going change dramatically, the health and safety of the environment, wildlife, and the public are at a great risk.
“A Mother’s Plea: Ban Private Ownership of Exotic Animals”. A Humane Nation: Wayne Pacelle’s Blog. 7 Sept. 2010. Print.
“Basic Information about HIV and AIDS”. Department of Health and Human Services. 11 Aug. 2010. <//www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/basic/>
“Bear Attack Renews Call for Immediate Legislative Action Banning Private Ownership of Dangerous Exotic Animals”. Born Free USA. 12 May 2006.
Henderson, Marian. “Banned Pets in the US, Animals, People and Disease”. Suite101.com 22 Nov. 2010: 1-3. Print.
... banning exotic animals as pets. The organization has come to the conclusion of the three reasons why the United States ... ban the private possession of exotic animals. 1. Public safety because across the United States exotic animals owned privately have attacked, bitten ... housing, and diet. The negative result of private ownership of exotic animals leads them to be euthanized, abandoned, or left ...
Kennedy, Emily. “The Dangers of the Exotic Pet Trade: From Tigers to Turtles”. The Wildlife Watch Binocular. 2004:1-2. Print
Landeros, Melody. “Should the Government Restrict Exotic Pet Ownership?” 2010:1-2. Print.
Ostrowski, Stephanie, R. “B-virus from Pet Macaque Monkeys: An Emerging Threat in the United States?”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . 23 Feb. 2010 <//www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol4no1/ostrowsk.htm>
Pacelle, Wayne. “Ohioans Shouldn’t Own Exotic Animals”. The Columbus Dispatch. 26 Aug. 2010: 1-3. Print.
“States Grapple with Exotic, Dangerous Pets”. New Haven Register. 1 Sept. 2010. Print.
Wyatt, Thomas. “Exotic Pets and Wild Birds for Sale Illicitly: Illegal Pet Birds and Exotic Animal Trafficking”. Suite101.com. 7 Dec. 2009:1-2. Print.