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For Immediate Release: 07/14/05

Kentucky Bans Exotic Animals as "Pets"

Groups Laud Action as Important Safety Measure

Sacramento, CA — Effective today, a regulation has been enacted in Kentucky that will prohibit the future private possession of tigers, lions, monkeys, bears, venomous reptiles, and other dangerous wildlife. One of the most comprehensive restrictions on the keeping of exotic animals as “pets” in the United States, the regulation also prohibits existing animals from being bred.

After thorough regulatory and legislative review and debate, the measure is supported by lawmakers and department officials and has been welcomed by leading animal protection groups. The Primate Rescue Center and Animal Protection Institute (API) applaud the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Legislature for their leadership on this important issue.

In line with the national trend on this issue, the ban in Kentucky affects future possession of wild animals. Persons currently possessing legally obtained animals can keep them, provided that they maintain veterinary and acquisition records establishing that the animal was possessed prior to the effective date of the regulation.

“Private ownership is never in the best interest of the animal,” says Primate Rescue Center’s Director April Truitt. “Exotic animals do not belong in living rooms, backyards, or in basements. We commend the Department and lawmakers for moving in the right direction.”

“The public health and safety risks are too high not to act,” says Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Jonathan Gassett. “Private individuals are not trained and do not have the proper facilities to own these animals as pets, which is precisely why we took this proactive step to protect our residents.”

“Tigers, lions, and bears are not pets,” says API’s General Counsel Nicole Paquette. “This necessary prohibition has sent a loud message to other states,” Paquette continues. “To date, 37 states have some form of law either banning or regulating the private possession of exotic animals — it is now time for all other states to act.”

About Primate Rescue Center
The Primate Rescue Center located in Nicholasville, Kentucky, has evolved into a nationally respected sanctuary housing more than 50 primates, including 11 chimpanzees. The Center’s work has been featured in the award-winning book Animal Underworld by journalist Alan Green and the Center for Public Integrity, in the magazine Animal’s Agenda, and on television and in newspapers nationwide. Supported solely by tax-deductible donations, the Primate Rescue Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and is licensed and inspected by the USDA. For more information visit www.primate-rescue.org.

About Animal Protection Institute (API)
API, a national nonprofit animal advocacy organization, works to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. API also operates a 186-acre primate sanctuary in Texas that is home to more than 400 rescued and retired monkeys. API works nationally on exotic animal legislation and has extensive information relating to wild animals in captivity, including incidents involving dangerous exotic animals in private possession. For more information visit www.MoreBeautifulWild.com.

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