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For Immediate Release: 04/02/07

Historic Day for Exotic Animals in Washington State

Critical bill to protect public safety and animal welfare passes Senate

Olympia, WA — The Animal Protection Institute (API) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) commend the Washington state Senate for passing HB 1418, the “Dangerous Wild Animal Bill,” after seven years of debate. The two groups are co-sponsors of HB 1418, which prohibits the private possession of dangerous exotic animals such as cougars, tigers, bears, monkeys, and dangerous reptiles.

“Washington is one of only 11 states with no laws regulating the private ownership of dangerous wild animals,” says Nicole Paquette, Director of Legal & Government Affairs for API. “Passage of this bill will put Washington State at the forefront of nationwide progressive animal legislation by boasting one of the best state laws in the country.”

“Today’s action by Washington lawmakers will protect public safety and the welfare of the animals,” says Jennifer Hillman, Washington State Government Affairs Coordinator for the HSUS. “Over the past seven years, incidents in Washington have ranged from attacks on people to abandonment of animals when owners can no longer care for them. Wild animals belong in the wild, not in basements or makeshift cages in people’s backyards.”

A recent investigation conducted by API examined both private owners and federally licensed facilities in Washington state and documented stories of serious, unreported attacks by animals; people, including children, being allowed direct contact with dangerous animals at USDA-licensed facilities, a violation of federal law; poor animal care conditions; and inadequate and unsafe barriers.

“We applaud the Washington state Senate for taking a strong stand on this issue and hope to see the state serve as a role model of progressive legislation other states will follow,” adds Paquette.

The Animal Protection Institute (API) is a national non-profit animal advocacy organization working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. API also manages a Primate Sanctuary that is currently home to more than 400 primates, many of whom were rescued from abusive or exploitative private ownership situations. For more information, visit www.api4animals.org.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization — backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — on the web at www.humanesociety.org.

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DVD b-roll and still images of exotic animals in Washington State available for download; email press@api4animals.org

Contact:
Jennifer Hillman, The Humane Society of the United States, 206-783-1451
Zibby Wilder, Animal Protection Institute, 206-898-7872

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