National group calls on Ohio legislature to take action before another person is injured or killed by unregulated captive wild animals
Bear mauling illustrates need for immediate legislative action
Sacramento, CA — In response to the mauling of an Orwell, Ohio woman by an escaped, privately possessed black bear, the Animal Protection Institute (API) called on the Ohio legislature to prohibit the private possession of exotic animals within the state. Legislation has been introduced in the past which could have prevented this tragedy.
API recently released the results of an extensive investigation into the largely unregulated private ownership of exotic wild animals in Ohio. The investigation exposed disturbing evidence of a lack of concern for public safety and animal welfare by both private owners and federally licensed facilities in Ohio. Major findings included:
- private owners and federally licensed facilities putting themselves and others in danger of attack
- a number of previously unreported injuries and attacks by exotic animals on owners and others
- public safety concerns including inadequate barriers and visitors allowed direct contact with dangerous exotic animals
- poor animal care conditions
Ohio currently has no laws governing the keeping, display, breeding or selling of non-native animals such as tigers, lions and primates and has seen at least 11 reported serious incidences involving exotic animals in the last five years. Given this incident, the time has come for the state to enact statewide protections for all wild and exotic animals.
“It’s amazing that with all the proof that exists, yet another person has to be hurt, and another animal put to death, to get people’s attention,” says Michelle Thew, Chief Executive Officer of API. “Immediate action must be taken to put an end to the private ownership of exotic animals in Ohio before there is another tragedy.”
The American Veterinary Medical Association, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Animal Control Association, and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association each oppose the private ownership of certain exotic animals.
API is a national nonprofit animal advocacy organization working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. API also manages a 186-acre 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.
B-roll and still images from the investigation are available upon request; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zibby Wilder, Animal Protection Institute (API), 916-447-3085 x205