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The Dangers of Possessing Exotic Animals

Source: Animal Issues, Volume 31, Number 2, Summer 2000

  • In June 1999, a 10-year-old girl dies after being brutally attacked by one of her stepfather’s “pet” tigers. The young girl is in the tiger’s cage helping her stepfather groom the animal when the tiger attacks.1
  • In December 1998, a healthy 5 month-old girl suddenly dies at home after contracting salmonella from the family’s pet iguana. The girl has no direct contact with the iguana yet contracts salmonella.2
  • In February 2000, a woman is viciously attacked by her “pet” macaque monkey. The monkey leaps from his open cage onto the woman’s head, and makes gashes 6 inches deep and other cuts to her head, arms, and legs. The woman spends over a week in the hospital and must undergo more than 12 weeks of physical therapy. The monkey has bitten the woman on two other occasions and previously attacked the family dog.3

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United States Department of Agriculture's Position Statement

Large Wild and Exotic Cats Make Dangerous Pets

Source: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Miscellaneous Publication No. 1560

Large wild and exotic cats such as lions, tigers, cougars, and leopards are dangerous animals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) believes that only qualified, trained professionals should keep these animals, even if they are only to be pets. Care and handling of these wild and exotic cats should be left to trained professionals who have the knowledge and means to maintain them properly.

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