API Calls on Washington Legislature to Enact Stronger Laws
Sacramento, CA — In light of the recent incident in Lewis County where a five-year-old boy was bitten by a tiger cub, the Animal Protection Institute (API) is calling attention to the inherent dangers associated with keeping exotic animals and is urging Washington state lawmakers to prohibit the private possession of dangerous exotic animals as pets by passing the Exotic Pets Bill during the 2006 legislative session.
The Lewis County incident illustrates why API has long advocated against the private possession of dangerous exotic animals. Non-domesticated felines such as lions, tigers, leopards, and cougars are commonly kept as pets. These exotic animals may seem cute and cuddly when they are young, but as they mature, they have the potential to seriously injure or kill people and other animals. Even an animal that appears to be friendly and loving can attack. This incident, like hundreds of others reported around the country, could have been avoided if a wild animal had not been kept captive.
“This incident demonstrates that wild animals, even those kept as pets, are unpredictable and can prove to be dangerous,” says API's General Counsel Nicole Paquette. “It's impossible to totally eliminate the ‘wild’ from wild animals — these animals are time bombs waiting to explode.”
“Washington is one of thirteen states that currently have no regulations prohibiting private possession of exotic animals, such as tigers. In light of our knowledge of the clear and considerable risks associated with keeping exotic animals as pets, lawmakers must recognize that the time has come to pass the Exotic Pets Bill in Washington,” Paquette continues.
API is recognized nationally as a leading expert on exotic animal legislation. API is currently assisting numerous states on legislation restricting the keeping of wild animals in private homes. API has extensive information relating to wild animals in captivity, including a database of incidents involving dangerous exotic animals in private possession. For more information on API’s exotic pet campaign, visit www.MoreBeautifulWild.com.
The Animal Protection Institute, a national non-profit animal advocacy organization with tens of thousands of members and supporters, works to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. API also operates a 186-acre primate sanctuary near San Antonio, Texas that is home to more than 400 rescued and retired snow monkeys, baboons, and vervets.
Nicole Paquette, API General Counsel, 916-447-3085 x214, firstname.lastname@example.org