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For Immediate Release: 01/24/05

Lawmakers Act to Protect WA Public from Dangerous Wild Animals

Exotic "Pet" Hearings Scheduled in House and Senate

Olympia, WA — This week, Washington lawmakers will once again discuss protecting their constituents from dangerous wild animals following escapes of wild animals across the nation. Hearings have been scheduled in both the House and Senate on legislation that will prohibit future possession of large cats, wolves, bears, nonhuman primates, alligators, and other potentially dangerous wild animals kept as private “pets.”

Across the country, many privately held exotic animals have escaped from their enclosures and freely roamed, and have attacked humans and other animals. Children and adults have been mauled by tigers, bitten by monkeys, and asphyxiated by snakes. Washington is not free from incidents. In just two incidents, in the past two years, an 8-foot-long alligator escaped from a Belfair home and a black bear escaped from his home for the fourth time in Thurston County.

The House bill (HB 1151) has been granted a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 at 1:30pm in House Hearing Room B in the John L. O’Brien Building.

The Senate bill (SB 5377) has been granted a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, January 27, 2005 at 10:00am in Senate Hearing Room 1 in the J. A. Cherberg Building.

The Animal Protection Institute (API) applauds Representative John Lovick (D-44th District) and Senator Adam Kline (D-37th District) for introducing these bills, and will again be working in Olympia to help bring about its passage.

Washington is one of fifteen states that currently have no regulations prohibiting private possession of dangerous wild animals. In light of our knowledge of the clear and considerable risks associated with keeping wild animals as “pets,” lawmakers recognize that the time has come to pass a bill to protect the public in Washington.

The legislation would require the possessor to maintain veterinary records, acquisition papers for the animal, or other documents or records that establish that the person possessed the animal prior to the effective date of the law.

“State governments have taken the lead in regulating the sale, possession, and use of captive wild and exotic animals in the United States,” says Nicole Paquette, Director of Legal and Government Affairs of the Animal Protection Institute. Paquette continues, “There are no laws in Washington state so now is the time to put into place a uniform law to ensure stronger protections for the residents and the animals. These bills will do just that.”

The Animal Protection Institute is a national non-profit animal advocacy organization with tens of thousands of members and supporters nationwide working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. For more information about exotic pets and API please visit www.MoreBeautifulWild.com.

To view HB 1151:

To view SB 5377:

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