As one of his last efforts, outgoing Governor of Ohio Ted Strickland has placed an emergency ban on the buying or selling of wild predators such as bears, wolves, primates, alligators, venomous snakes, and large constricting snakes. The ban is meant to prevent injuries to humans from trying to keep wild animals as pets. “This rule will help protect Ohioans from deaths and serious injuries caused by attacks from dangerous wild animals held in private ownership,” he said. (Source: dispatchpolitics.com)
There appears to be a lack of awareness about the difference between wild and domesticated animals in some people. One of the incidents that focused attention on the issue of wild animal ownership was the tragic death of a young Ohio man after being mauled by a caged bear. Brent Kandra worked at the home of a man who had a collection of wolves and other large predators including eight bears, four tigers, and a lion. Kandra was killed one day when he opened the bear’s cage for a routine feeding. The bear had never previously been aggressive with him.
The homeowner’s license to exhibit animals had been taken away after it was revealed the owner had allowed people to wrestle with his bears. The bear that mauled Kandra was euthanized after the attack, which is the typical course of action when a wild animal kept in captivity has attacked or killed a human. Kandra’s parents have supported Strickland’s ban.
In 2006, an Ohio man was killed by his pet boa constrictor snake. In 2004, an Ohio woman was bitten by her pet viper and died. She owned a total of nine venomous snakes. When police inspected her home they had no knowledge of the presence of venomous snakes and could have been bitten and killed also. The woman had driven herself to the hospital after being bitten and died there.
In a separate incident in November 2010, an Ohio teenager stole and killed an alpaca, though the animal was not aggressive to anyone and had done nothing to him. One of the more curious aspects of owning wild animals as pets, is that there are plenty of unwanted dogs and cats in shelters waiting to be adopted, yet some people still choose “exotic” animals. In some cases it appears to be a form of reckless thrill-seeking, and in others exploiting the animal to get attention for one’s self.
Image Credit: And0283