START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
Feb 19, 2007
In just a few short weeks, a very important event is taking place to SAVE THE FLORIDA PANTHER! 

Please take a moment to read and try to attend if you can.

http://www.floridapanther.org/cause-paws.html

Thanks you.

Imported from external blog

Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted: Feb 19, 2007 6:57pm
Nov 1, 2006
from the July 26, 2006 edition

After Exotic Pets are Rescued, What's next?

As officials seize more captive wild animals, the scramble is on to find them appropriate homes.

| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Ivan is a playful, 7-year-old cat - a "sweet boy," according to the Houston SPCA. He desperately needed a home, but he was never featured on the animal-protection agency's "pick of the litter" Web page.

That's because the nearly 400-pound mixed-breed tiger is too big to roam around a private house or backyard - just the situation he was rescued from this spring.

Recently, Ivan was given refuge at a Florida animal sanctuary after months of temporary shelter at the Houston Zoo. He is one of a large group of exotic animals confiscated from a ranch in Gonzales County, Texas, and one of the few so far to have found a permanent home.

The plight of these animals highlights the increasing problem of private citizens keeping wild animals as pets - and the even larger problem of what to do with them after authorities seize them.

"Ten years ago, it was a rare thing for us to house a tiger or an African lion, but it has become a regular part of the work we do," says Patricia Mercer, president of the Houston SPCA. "The laws are so lax and the animals so easy to come by, it's like trying to put your finger in the dike to hold back these large numbers of animals living in backyards and apartments."

Six years ago, the Houston SPCA built large enclosures as the number of confiscated wild animals began to rise. These days, every cage is filled and plenty of energy expended on finding appropriate homes.

The Internet is a major factor in the rapid increase in private ownership of exotic animals, experts say. It makes the animals much easier to find and much cheaper to buy. A decade ago, for instance, a tiger cub might cost $10,000, but today can be found for as little as $500.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 15,000 monkeys and as many as 15,000 big cats - 5,000 to 7,000 of which are tigers - are being kept as pets in the US.

"That's more than there are tigers left in the wild," says Richard Farinato, director of the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas, and a captive-wildlife expert with the Humane Society.

In Boston, for example, zoo authorities have reported a surge in overnight drop-offs of exotic pets by owners who were evidently overwhelmed by caring for the specialized animals.

In addition, people keep an estimated 300,000 wolf hybrids - several of which mauled their owner to death last week in Pennsylvania. Even wild animals that are bred in captivity, experts say, are dangerous and can attack unexpectedly.

In April, for example, a 500-pound Bengal tiger being kept as a pet attacked and killed its owner in Minnesota. In December, celebrity heiress Paris Hilton was attacked by her pet kinkajou, which she had taken shopping with her in Los Angeles. She purchased the raccoon-related animal in Las Vegas and had to get rid of it when she learned it is illegal to have exotic pets in California without a permit.

Earlier this month, the Senate approved the Captive Primate Safety Act, which seeks to end the interstate and foreign trade in primates. The bill is currently being considered by the House of Representatives. Congress enacted a similar measure in 2003 for lions, tigers, and other big cats.

But for the most part, the issue has been left to the states.

Currently, 35 states have some kind of regulation in place governing the sale, possession, or use of captive wild animals - though 15 have none whatsoever.

Many people who buy exotic animals and have them shipped to their homes don't know what federal and state laws govern their ownership and aren't told by the seller.

Last month, for example, a mother in Manchester, N.H., had a wallaby confiscated from her home by the state fish and game department. New Hampshire law requires that anyone owning an exotic animal be licensed as an exhibitor.

The woman had purchased the wallaby for $1,500 over the Internet as a graduation gift for her daughter, and could face both state and federal fines.

Even with tough laws, enforcement is often difficult because many cities don't have the resources or ability to house such large animals.

Gonzales County, for instance, knew about the 11 bears, two tigers, and one macaw for a couple years, but didn't have the means to transport and house them. So the rural county eventually called the more populous Harris County for help. But even for large municipalities, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find homes for confiscated animals because of their growing numbers.

"We are constantly harassing zoos and sanctuaries," says Ms. Mercer. "But the reality is there is no place over the rainbow for these animals." From the Gonzales group, eight bears - including two grizzlies - are still awaiting homes. Mercer says she will not euthanize the wild animals, as is routinely done with dogs and cats at the shelter after a certain length of time, no matter how long it takes to find them a home.

But Mr. Farinato says officials should consider euthanasia - especially as numbers grow.

"Nobody wants to face the idea, and there is great resistance to it because we think these animals are somehow different. But, in reality, there is no difference," Farinato says.

Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , ,
Posted: Nov 1, 2006 8:27am

 

 
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.

Author

Karen P.
, 1
Brandon, FL, USA
Shares by Type:
All (16) | Blog (13) | Tribute (3)

Showing shares tagged with: cat [show all]
SHARES FROM KAREN'S NETWORK
Jan
18
(1 comments  |  discussions )
\\nI found this beautiful inspirational Winter poem and thought it might be a comfort to you.\\r\\n\\r\\nIt was to me and it\\\'s very well written.\\r\\n\\r\\nI felt it really captured my own feelings about Winter.\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\n \\r\\n\\\"Winter\\\"\\r\\ n\\r\\nA poem by\\r\\n...
Nov
12
(2 comments  |  discussions )
\\nI am an insonmiac....\\r\\nJust would welcome your input....\\r\\nAny time night or day.....\\n
Jul
14
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nA orca (Orcinus orca), também conhecida como baleia-assassina, devido ao fato dessa caçar outras baleias, é o membro de maior porte da família dos golfinhos (Delphinidae) (ordem dos cetáceos) e um superpredador ver...
Dec
22
by Liz s.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\n\\r\\n
Dec
6
by gaea r.
(1 comments  |  discussions )
Join in a worldwide meditation to heal mother earth and bring light forward into the last days ofthe old cycle.. bring on the new ENTERTHE AGE OF AQUARIUS ~ nearly 9000 people in all sections of this glorious earth are practicing this S...
Nov
18
by gaea r.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nWASHINGTON (AP) — Top international climate scientists and disaster experts meeting in Africa had a sharp message Friday for the world\\\'s political leaders: Get ready for more dangerous and \\\"unprecedented extreme weather\\\" caused by global wa...
Oct
12
by gaea r.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
go here http://www.avaaz.org/en/t he_world_vs_wall_st/?cl=1 327683612&v=10656 \\r\\nto sign the petition and watch a live stream of the wonderful and exciting brave new \\r\\nworld we are creating by standing up on Wall St USA ! \\r\\n\\r\\nthanks !
Oct
28
(0 comments  |  discussions )
Chamberlin needs your help … His abusers are going to court this Friday, 10/29/10.\\r \\nOctober 26, 2010\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\nby ourcompassadmin\\r\\n\\r\ \nClick on each picture to enlarge.\\r\\n \\r\\nBy Angela Adams (can only be accessed with valid Faceb...
Apr
27
by Ceci M.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
On March 31, 2010 the Obama Administration announced it would open up large portions of the East Coast and Eastern Gulf Coasts to offshore oil drilling and exploration.   The Minerals Management Service (MMS ) has called for seismic surveyin...
Mar
17
by Ceci M.
(12 comments  |  0 discussions )
Addendum:\\r\\nA Gentle Reminder: If you are having problems accessing the new FL Panther petition, try this link; http://animals.change.org /actions/view/stop_the_ki lling_of_the_florida_pant her IF it takes you to the main page just put in \\\"STOP THE KIL...