Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Iowa may limit exotic animals

One proposal calls for an outright ban on dangerous critters; another suggests a permit system.

By JENNIFER JACOBS
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
Published February 27, 2007

After learning that an African lion, two cougars, a macaque monkey, two adult bears and a bear cub were being kept as pets at a rural Adair County home in 2005, the sheriff called animal rescue officials.

"He wanted me to come and check for neglect or cruelty, and we didn't see that," said Josh Colvin, cruelty intervention coordinator for the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

However, Colvin said, he was concerned because the cougars were pacing and seemed agitated, the caged cub had what appeared to be a nervous habit of chewing on its own leg, the lion was in a structure that didn't seem secure, and the monkey was allowed to roam the countryside during the day.

But because it's legal in many parts of Iowa for people to own exotic animals, animal rescue workers couldn't do anything to intervene, Colvin said Monday.

There are now two proposals before the Legislature that could change that.

One is an outright ban on "dangerous wild animals." The other calls for a permit system for a smaller number of animals.

Under House Study Bill 169 and a companion bill, Senate File 135, Iowans would be prohibited from buying or breeding wolves, coyotes, jackals, hyenas, lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, ocelots, bears, pandas, rhinoceroses, elephants, alligators, crocodiles, venomous snakes, certain constrictors such as pythons and anacondas, and "primates other than humans."

Existing owners could keep their animals if they pay a registration fee, but Sonja Miller of Greenfield said she worries the fees will be so high she won't be able to afford her monkeys, bobcat and foxes.

"Nobody's going to be able to keep them," said Miller, a retired teacher. "The animal rights people are trying to take them all out of our hands. It's a nasty, nasty bill."

She and her husband, a retired trooper, ran a little zoo on their farm until he suffered heart trouble.

"We have a duty to provide them a home in their retirement, too," she said.

Miller and other members of the Iowa Federation of Animal Owners think a better compromise is House File 333, introduced by Rep. Clel Baudler, a Republican from Adair County.

It would regulate only lions, tigers, bears, pandas, gorillas and chimpanzees, or the offspring of those animals.

Tom Colvin, the executive director of the Animal Rescue League, which prefers the broader bill, House Study Bill 169, said it's become more popular for Iowans to buy wild animals at auction or on the Internet.

"You can get an African lion for $500," Colvin said. "That's the cost of a purebred dog, for Pete's sake."

Wild animals in captivity can spread disease and injure people who come into contact with them, he said. Owners become overwhelmed because the animals have complex needs for their nutritional diet, and for housing and play areas that meet their psychological needs, he said.

In the last four years, the Animal Rescue League had to find sanctuary for a tiger, a mountain lion, a bobcat and several monkeys, Colvin said. Finding a legal home isn't easy; zoos are reluctant to take them because of their unknown health and behavior history, he said.

Reporter Jennifer Janeczko Jacobs can be reached at (515) 284-8127 or jejacobs@dmreg.com

Regulating exotic animals

HOUSE STUDY BILL 169/ SENATE FILE 135: The bill bans ownership of a long list of "dangerous wild animals," but it grandfathers in existing animals as long as the owner hasn't been convicted of an animal welfare offense, drug offense or felony. Current owners would have to become licensed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, pay a registration fee per animal, carry insurance, restrict transportation of the animal, provide proper enclosures and attach an electronic identification device beneath the animal's skin or hide. Accredited wildlife sanctuaries, circuses and zoos would be exempt.

HOUSE FILE 333: Sets up strict licensing requirements for the owners of tigers, lions, bears and a few other animals. Owners would have to pay a fee per animal, carry insurance, restrict transportation of the animal, provide proper enclosures, have a nutrition and veterinarian plan, and use electronic monitoring or alternative form of identification. It would exempt brokers, breeders and exhibitors who are already licensed and regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/ 20070227/NEWS10/702270400/-1/LIFE04
http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070227/NEWS10/702270400/-1/LIFE04

Missouri Senate ponders big cat restrictions

JEFFERSON CITY - Owners of big cats in Missouri may soon see restrictions on their animals.

"It's a big problem, and it needs to be addressed before someone gets killed," said Rosella Baller.

Baller lives near a facility she says houses 84 large, potentially dangerous animals. She has been active for 4 years trying to get legislation to regulate the ownership of these big carnivores in Missouri.

"It will give someone oversight on what's going on. Right now, the sheriff will not go out and count the animals, and the conservation department cannot make them abide by the wildlife code, and the USDA has no jurisdiction," Baller said.

Senator Jolie Justus of Kansas City sponsored Senate Bill 206 because right now Missouri is one of the only states without regulations on the animals.

"Missouri is quickly becoming a haven for people who want to have these large carnivores without a permit," Justus said.

The bill would prohibit ownership of the meat eaters without permits and liability insurance. Some large cat owners agree there needs to be regulation, but disagree with some of the stipulations.

"To put an insurance policy that is so prohibitive, that none of us can afford it, and that effectually bans the ownership of these animals," said J.B. Anderson of the Feline Conservation Federation.

"If these people can't afford the insurance, they can't afford the animals, the same as if you can't afford car insurance, you can't afford to drive," Baller said in reply.

If the bill passes, anyone possessing, breeding, or transporting a large carnivore after January 1, 2008 must have a permit from the Department of Agriculture.

Tuesday was the first hearing on the bill.

Edited by: Jonathan Coffman
Reported by: Natalie Swallow

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 10:38 PM

http://www.komu.com/satellite/SatelliteRender/KOMU.com/ c261de75-c0a8-2f11-0163-66f433d41528/ e21bae0c-c0a8-2f11-0110-55abb852dbe4

Friday, February 23, 2007

NC county makes it illegal to keep wild animal as pet

By Scott Nicholson

The Watauga County commissioners adopted a new animal control ordinance after a year of discussion and revisions, putting a little more bite in dealing with potentially dangerous dogs.

The ordinance defines public nuisance and dangerous animals, and commission chairman Jim Deal said the public hearing process had provided good information and helped draft an ordinance that had a lot of input behind it. The ordinance grants enforcement powers for regulating wild and dangerous animals to the animal control department. A public nuisance is defined as an animal that damages property, attacks a person or other animal, chases or snaps at people or animals, or is otherwise a public danger.

A “dangerous dog” is one that has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person, has engaged in dangerous behaviors, or has been trained for dog fighting. A “potentially dangerous dog” is one that has inflicted a serious injury to a person, killed or injured another domestic animal, or approached someone in a vicious or threatening manner when not on the owner’s property. The ordinance grants the animal control department determination authority of conditions under which a potentially dangerous dog can be released to the owner.

The ordinance gives pet owners the option of installing an identifying microchip in the animal instead of using a collar or tag. Animals brought into the county must be vaccinated within one week of entering the county.

Two signed and detailed complaints are required before an investigation of a nuisance animal is triggered. Owners who violate the ordinance are subject to a $50 civil penalty. The ordinance outlines provisions for the county’s storage or destruction of seized animals.

The ordinance also toughens and broadens animal cruelty penalties. It’s now unlawful to leave an animal locked in a closed vehicle that threatens the animal’s life, and chained animals must have at least eight feet of chain with a swivel. Animal abandonment can lead to a misdemeanor charge.

The ordinance avoids controversial language that would appear to target specific breeds some consider to be more likely to be dangerous, but does make allowance for “an inherently dangerous animal.” It’s unlawful to keep a wild animal except for in licensed sanctuaries.

Pets are required to have an up-to-date rabies vaccination. Cats aren’t required to display tags, though the owner is required to have written evidence of inoculation.

The commissioners had previously discussed a spay-and-neuter ordinance but decided to make that a separate discussion and will likely hold public hearings on the issue later this year. Some animal advocates said such an ordinance would reduce the number of unwanted and abandoned pets and also lower the public cost of dealing with such animals.

Animal control officer Dave Simpkins said the new ordinance dealt with a number of areas in which the laws had changed since the county’s ordinance was last revised in 1994. Some of those were made to correspond with state laws and others gave his department more powers of discretion to act quickly in the interest of public safety.

“Some areas had gone from black and white (in the old ordinance) to gray,” Simpkins said Wednesday. “This puts in some stiffer guidance for public nuisance and helps us make determinations in the field.”

http://www.mountaintimes.com/mtweekly/2007/0222/ aniaml_control.php3

Thursday, February 22, 2007

S.C. county passes provisional exotic animal ban

By Charles D. Perry · The Herald - Updated 02/20/07 - 12:05 AM

CHESTER -- The Chester County Council unanimously voted to ban "exotic animals" Monday night because of an attempt by a Rock Hill woman to bring a tiger sanctuary to the county.

The council did not specify all the animals that would be included in the ban, but determined that those details would be included in a written ordinance by the next council meeting. Two more votes and a public hearing are required to make the ban permanent.

Councilman Alex Oliphant did say the exotic animals definition would include large cats, such as lions and tigers. Residents who legally own those animals now will not be affected by the ban, he said.

Last week, Oliphant said he requested the topic be put on the agenda because of the outcry from residents opposed to Lea Jaunakais' proposed sanctuary called "Tiger World."

Jaunakais (pronounced YAWN-ah-KICE) has said the exotic wildlife facility would offer shelter to big cats and would serve as a research site and entertainment park where families and other groups could take guided tours.

She recently purchased land for the sanctuary on Simple Farm Road in northern Chester County.

But many people who live in that area are adamantly opposed to "Tiger World," and say Jaunakais can't guarantee the large cats won't escape. They say they've spent many hours researching the subject and the animals are not suitable for their area.

The council chamber inside the Chester County War Memorial Building was packed Monday night, including people standing along the back wall.

One of Jaunakais' supporters, Derick Wilder of Fort Mill, told the council at the beginning of the meeting that he spent eight years volunteering at an exotic animal sanctuary in Florida that housed large cats. Although he said he understood residents' concerns, he added that there were never any incidents of animals harming the public at the facility where he worked. That sanctuary, he said, benefited the community.

No one else spoke to the council about the topic.

Jaunakais said she didn't speak to the council during the meeting because she just wanted to observe the proceedings and see what was proposed. When council members have more details, she said, maybe she'll speak then.

Because of council members' discussion, Jaunakais was optimistic that they want to talk with her more about the project.

"What was really clear to me," she said, was that "they all wanted to learn more."

When asked if the council's decision would deter her from pursuing Tiger World, Jaunakais said, "No, not at all."

Those who oppose Jaunakais' plan were happy with the outcome of the meeting.

Darlene Steen, a Simple Farm Road resident who has been one of the leaders in the opposition to Tiger World, said she was pleased with the number of people that showed up who are opposed to Tiger World. That group, she said, included Rock Hill and North Carolina residents who own land in Chester County.

Steen said she was happy with council's vote, but she knows the fight isn't over.

"It's a step forward," she said. "But we've still got a long road to go."

The council meets again on March 5.

Charles D. Perry • 329-4068 | cperry@heraldonline.com

http://www.heraldonline.com/109/story/13150.html

Ontario bill would set standards for zoos

Chatham residents learn about Zimmer Zoo Bill (bill 154)
Bill would raise standards for animal welfare and protect the public

TORONTO, ONTARIO, MEDIA RELEASE--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 19, 2007) - The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) kicked off a four city tour beginning in Chatham tonight with a public meeting to discuss the proposed Regulation of Zoos Act (Bill 154). Attendees learned how the MPP David Zimmer's Private Member's Bill will address rampant animal care and public safety problems at roadside zoos, by establishing regulations and standards for all Ontario zoos.

Melissa Tkachyk, Campaigns Officer for WSPA said, "David Zimmer's Regulation of Zoos Act will put an end to the days when anybody could collect lions, tigers and bears, throw them into ramshackle cages and invite the public to come and see them. This is an important piece of legislation that deserves public support."

The Zimmer Zoo Bill contains a number of important standards that the current Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act overlooks. Foremost among the proposed standards includes a requirement that Ontario zoo operators obtain a license and comply with professional welfare and public safety standards. The Bill would also ensure every animal has adequate food, water, space, shelter and stimulation to satisfy their physical and behavioural needs.

In explaining his rationale for introducing the Zoo Bill, Willowdale MPP David Zimmer said, "The proper treatment of animals is a mark of a sophisticated, compassionate society. Ensuring that all zoos meet professional standards will help the animals, the visiting public, and those who live near zoos as well as improve the bottom line for zoo owners across the province."

WSPA also released the findings of an Ontario wide survey conducted by Oraclepoll* that shows 97% of Ontarians overwhelmingly supporting the idea of province-wide regulations aimed at standardizing zoo animal care. In addition:

* 90% of residents in southwestern Ontario (Chatham included) strongly agree that all Ontario zoos be required by law to meet professional standards of animal care and public safety.

* 90% of Ontarians agree that residents keeping wildlife such as tigers and monkeys in a zoo should
be licensed.

* 83% of Ontarians support having a provincial agency inspect zoos to ensure they are safe.

* 87% of Ontarians agree that zoo operators should have formal education and training in animal care.


Ms. Tkachyk also noted that the sessions will continue throughout the week with stops in Barrie, London and Brantford. For those who missed the session, more information is available at www.OntarioZoos.ca or by calling 1-800-363-WSPA (9772). In addition to the WSPA, Bill 154 is supported by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

IN: ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, POLITICS

CONTACT INFORMATION

Peter Boisseau, Media Manager, World Society for the Protection of Animals
Primary Phone: 416-369-0044 ext. 106
Secondary Phone: 647-268-8122
Toll-Free: 800-363-9772
E-mail: boisseau@wspa.ca


http://www.ccnmatthews.com/news/releases/show.jsp? action=showRelease&searchText=false &showText=all&actionFor=636259

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Milwaukee suburbs OKs exotic animal ban

By BRIAN PAYNTER/Staff Reporter

MAYVILLE — Two alderpersons on Monday presented opposing views on an ordinance prohibiting residents from keeping wild and exotic animals.

Alderperson Tracy Heron, who voted against the measure, called it unnecessary, redundant and serving only to encroach upon people's rights.

"There are state and federal statutes and regulations in place that would supersede our ordinance anyway," he said. "So if we wanted to control someone owning an alligator we wouldn't have to pass an emergency ordinance."

Alderperson Mitch McKinnon enthusiastically described the wild and exotic animal ordinance as decent and added that it reads well.

"If it was a major issue, there would be more concerned citizens saying, 'We don't want this' or 'This is way too broad,'" he said.

The Common Council voted 5 to 1 to approve the wild and exotic animal ordinance after adding two amendments regarding exceptions. They are municipal zoos or those accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; and traveling or fair exhibitions and petting zoos licensed under the federal Animal Welfare Act and by the USDA.

Heron said introducing and passing another ordinance just because some other municipality does so isn't a good enough reason.

"It (the wild and exotic animal ordinance) isn't going to dramatically change anybody's life anyway," he said.

Heron added that Mayville has an overabundance of ordinances and should have a better guiding principal when passing them.

McKinnon told the council that he received four or five "very informative" e-mails pertaining to the exotic and wild animal ordinance but none of them came from Mayville.

"I was completely shocked," he said. "I thought, 'Boy, this is really upsetting people and they're trying to help us but nobody was from my area.'"

Mayor Ron Sternat, who shared three e-mails he received at the public safety committee meeting on Jan. 15, acknowledged that the wild and exotic animal ordinance has attracted outside interest.

Jill Fritz, state program coordinator for the Human Society of the United States in St. Paul, Minn., applauded Mayville for taking action to prohibit the private possession of wild and dangerous animals as pets.

"They can injure and kill, they can spread deadly disease and the average citizen cannot meet the needs of these animals," she wrote.

Eric Roscoe, who raises snakes somewhere in Florida, disapproved of the wild and exotic animal ordinance because it's fear-based, absurd and unfair.

"Many, if not most, species of commonly kept non-venomous snakes over four feet are harmless to humans and have contributed to no fatalities," he wrote.

Reports of an alligator roaming the streets of a suburban Milwaukee community a few months ago prompted Sternat and the council to introduce the wild and exotic animal ordinance on Jan. 8.

"We need to protect the people of Mayville," Sternat said.

http://www.wiscnews.com/bdc/news/118766

Saturday, February 10, 2007

New proposal will outlaw exotic pets in Baltimore

by Mary Helen Sprecher
newsroom@baltimoreguide.com

The City of Baltimore Health Department is asking for public comment on regulations that have been proposed regarding pets. And by pets, they aren’t talking about regular old cats and dogs. In fact, the proposed regs address the keeping of exotic, farm, and other animals.

“We’ve seen a growing number of exotic pets in the city,” said Bob Anderson, director of the Municipal Animal Shelter.

The proposed regs, according to Olivia Farrow, assistant commissioner of environmental healthwere developed to help create a more definitive structure for enforcement of laws regarding the keeping of out-of-the-ordinary animals in the city.

And yes, she added, it’s something that is needed.

Last year, the city was able to pass an ordinance defining exactly what was meant by exotic or farm animals. (For the record, exotic means “any native or foreign wildlife whose possession or sale is prohibited by federal, state or local law.” Farm animals are “bovine, equine, porcine, carprine or domestic fowl.”)

The current code also requires permits for those who want to keep exotic or farm animals, as well as bees, Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs and pigeons. (It’s no. 10-312 in the city code, for those who want to look it up.)

The concept of exotic animals in the city might seem like a stretch, said Anderson — except that he’s had to deal with it on a routine basis.

“We’ve seen everything,” he noted.

Over the years, various animals have become “the pet of the moment,” according to Anderson. Pot-bellied pigs, chinchillas and sugar gliders (similar to a flying squirrel), as well as reptiles including iguanas and caimans (alligator-like lizards that can reach up to four feet in length) have all been found in homes inside the city limits.

“The one thing I remember the best,” said Anderson, “is that Martha Stewart said that chickens made great urban pets.”

Martha’s advice, according to Anderson, was not a good thing.

“People got chickens, and of course they got roosters, too. The roosters would be crowing all the time. It was noisy, it was messy.”

And it most certainly did not sit well with the neighbors.

In response to citizen complaints about unsanitary conditions and noise, and to the Health Department’s concern about the potential for infectious diseases, the proposed regs will take the city code one step further, expressly prohibiting any of those wild or exotic animals and their hybrid offspring. It spells out exactly what is prohibited. (See side bar for an exact listing).

In addition, the proposed regs set down much more strict rules regarding the keeping of some pets. One example – which has the potential to impact those in row house neighborhoods – would be the new regulations dealing with pigeons.

Pigeons, according to Anderson, can be a sensitive issue, since for years it was commonplace for individuals to keep pigeon coops on their rooftops or in their back yards, and to competitively race pigeons with their friends, and even in clubs. These days, however, it’s just as likely that the next door neighbors won’t welcome the idea of a pigeon coop a few yards away from their roof deck or on the other side of their back yard fence.

“There’s a large number of people keeping pigeons in the city, and a large number of people complaining about pigeon droppings on their property,” he said.

The proposed regulations set a limit of 50 pigeons per person, and require individuals to not only have a permit for the pigeons themselves but to comply with all zoning and building regulations (including getting permits in order to build or have a pigeon coop). The coop has to be of a certain size (with at least one square foot per pigeon over the age of 1 month) and be constructed according to specific humane standards. It also has to be kept in a clean enough to prevent disease, odor, insect and rodent breeding. Pigeon food must be stored away from rodents.

Then there are the regulations that have been proposed for the pigeons themselves. The pigeons must stay in the coop unless they are out for supervised exercise, and the owner may not allow pigeons to perch or linger on the property or buildings of others.

“We can do an annual review (of pigeon keepers’ premises) depending on complaints,” said Anderson. “If we find out a person now has 150 pigeons, that they’re being kept in an unsanitary way, we can pull their permit and take the pigeons. It just gives us a little more leverage.”

There are proposed regulations for the keeping of chickens as well as Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs. All three require permits costing $80 per animal. (Zoos and licensed exotic animal sanctuaries are exempt from the proposed regulations).

Comments on all proposed regulations are being accepted through Friday, March 2. According to Olivia Farrow, the Health Department “is open to suggestions. We’ll take all comments and re-evaluate as necessary.”

Exotic and unusual pets are often acquired for the wrong reasons, say officials. Sometimes, it is because the animal is trendy, or because the person is seeking attention (and a regular dog or cat or parakeet just isn’t flashy enough). Sometimes, animals are acquired by those who have good intentions, but no knowledge of what it actually takes to care for that animal, or of what it costs. Veterinary care for exotic pets is harder to find and consequently, can be more expensive. Finding pet-sitters can be more difficult as well.

As a result, many owners lose interest and start looking for ways to offload their animals.

“We do get phone calls and e-mails from time to time asking if we can take in exotic pets that people can no longer care for,” said Lainie Contreras, public information officer with the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. “Unfortunately, we are unable to take in such pets as we generally do not handle animals that have been domesticated. Instead, we recommend that people contact a rescue organization that does accept unwanted exotic animals. A lot of people will buy an exotic pet without realizing that the animal requires a great deal of specialized care.”

Exotic pets are often released into the wild where they either die, or in the case of the Northern Snakehead, thrive to the extent that they pose a hazard to local species.

Owners who feel more responsibility toward exotic pets will surrender their animals to shelters and sanctuaries, where individuals like Colleen Layton of Frisky’s Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary in Woodstock, Md. are licensed to care for them.

Layton, who reviewed the Health Department’s proposed regulations, approves of the stricter measures.

“I really do think it’s a good thing,” she said. “Animals should be accounted for, and people should be held accountable. It’s a life you’re dealing with.”

Over the years, Layton has taken in monkeys, a prairie dog, a coatimundi, a flying squirrel, lizards, turtles, goats, chickens, ducks, geese and many other displaced animals.

“People tend to get animals, and they don’t have species-specific experience. They don’t know anything about the animal, really, and then all of a sudden they find out it’s a lot more trouble than they thought and they can’t care for it anymore.”

Frisky’s does not adopt out exotic animals; those remain on the sanctuary premises throughout their natural lives. The facility also rehabilitates injured and orphaned wildlife and releases it once it can survive on its own. It also takes in pet birds, such as parakeets and cockatiels, and finds new homes for them.

There are signs that at least within the city limits, the trend in pet ownership may be changing. Eddie Sachs at The Coral Reef Pet Store on Eastern Avenue said that his business is seeing less of a demand for out-of-the-ordinary animals.

“People just aren’t into the exotics as much as they used to be,” he noted. “It’s petered out. Years ago, people were wanting caimans, now you just don’t see those around.”

Note: To review the proposed regulations, go to www.baltimorehealth.org. Comments can be mailed to Olivia Farrow, Assistant Commissioner for Environmental Health, 210 Guilford Avenue, second floor, Baltimore, MD 21202, or e-mailed to Olivia.Farrow@baltimorecity.gov. Deadline for all comments to be received is March 2.

http://www.timesheraldnews.com/2007/02/09/0209321/

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Buffalo, NY, considers ban on exotic animals acts

By BRIAN MEYER
News Staff Reporter
1/31/2007

Former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus worker Archele Hundley shows the Common Council a bull hook used on elephants to dramatize how handlers are taught to keep the animals afraid.

A former employee of the nation's largest traveling circus Tuesday claimed she witnessed vicious acts of animal cruelty and urged the Common Council to ban events in Buffalo that include exotic animal acts.

"The abuse was not once in a while, it occurred every day," Archele Hundley told lawmakers. "The elephants, horses and camels were hit, punched, beaten and whipped by everyone from the head of animal care down to inexperienced animal handlers hired out of homeless shelters."

The West Virginia woman claimed handlers are taught to keep the animals afraid.

But an executive with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus denied the allegations and submitted written testimony calling a ban "unnecessary and unjustified."

"We feel very strongly that our animal-care practices are second to none," Thomas L. Albert, the circus' vice president of government relations and animal policy, told The Buffalo News in a telephone interview.

Albert challenged Hundley's credibility, saying she only worked for Ringling Bros. for about two months last year. He also said that circus officials never heard Hundley's claims until animal advocates started "trotting" her around the country.

Hundley called that claim a lie.

"When I voiced concerns to Ringling management about the animal abuse, I was either ignored or told, "If you don't like it, pack your bags,' " she insisted.

The Council's Legislation Committee held the hearing after advocates lobbied for a law that would make Buffalo off-limits to circuses that use lions, elephants and other exotic animals. More than 20 municipalities across the nation already have imposed such bans, including Hollywood, Fla.

North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr. will likely sponsor legislation proposing such a ban in Buffalo, and Majority Leader Dominic J. Bonifacio Jr. of the Niagara District said he might co-sponsor the bill.

Albert said animals remain the top attraction for a traveling circus, adding that Ringling Bros. is committed to making them feel "safe and secure." He said the circus has been coming to Buffalo since 1919, when Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey combined their operations. He said he hopes Buffalo follows the lead of other municipalities that have rejected bans, including Denver.

Circuses help to reinforce the role that people play as caretakers of animals, Albert said.

The education argument was dismissed by Jennifer Radecki of Animal Advocates of Western New York. She said exhibiting elephants "dressed up and performing silly tricks" contributes nothing to people's appreciation for animals.

Supporters of the ban claim animals in traveling circuses spend a lot of time in feces-filled boxcars or chained in arenas. They also downplayed the drawing power of animal acts.

"Banning exotic-animal acts would bring an end to the mistreatment that I witnessed on a daily basis but was powerless to stop," Hundley said.

e-mail: bmeyer@buffnews.com

http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20070131/1049808.asp

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Mass. bill would ban Internet hunting

By Dave Wedge
Boston Herald Chief Enterprise Reporter
Saturday, February 3, 2007 - Updated: 09:56 AM EST

A disgusted Brockton lawmaker wants to fast-track a ban on "Internet hunting," a "sick" online service that allows players to use their computer mouse to fire a real remote-controlled rifle and kill fenced-in animals on far away ranches.

"This is really sick," said Sen. Robert Creedon (D-Brockton). "To term that ‘hunting' really demeans hunting."

Creedon's proposal would ban Bay State residents from gunning down exotic animals via the Internet and also would make it illegal to set up a Massachusetts-based online hunting site. Every New England state except Massachusetts and Connecticut has banned the gruesome game, as have 25 other states.

Creedon is seeking to fast-track the bill and hopes to have it on Gov. Deval Patrick's desk within weeks.

"They lure animals into a circumstance where, by remote means, you kill the animal," Creedon said. "It's beyond me how anyone can derive pleasure from that."

One former site, called LiveShot.com, charged members $1,500 to have sheep, deer, boars and other exotic animals herded in front of a remote camera at feeding troughs for players to shoot with their computer-controlled rifle. The carcass would then be stuffed, mounted and shipped to the gamer.

The site was run out of a Texas ranch that allows "canned" hunting, a controversial sport in which hunters shoot domesticated animals in fenced-in reserves. The Web site has since been shut down, but animal rights groups say there are efforts under way to open new cyberranches.

"This is nothing more than pay-per-view slaughter," said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of the Humane Society of the United States. "It takes the canned hunt to a new unsavory low. This is not sporting. This is not hunting. This is a snuff film."

Internet hunting supporters argue that the virtual shooting gallery gives handicapped hunters and others who can't get out into the wilderness a chance to hunt. But Markarian, who is also pushing for a federal ban, hopes Massachusetts becomes the next state to prohibit the bloodsport.

"They still have half the states that are open to them unless we can prevent this sick idea from spreading," he said.

http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg? articleid=180783&format=text

Exotic animal ban passes in Vancouver, BC

Feb, 02 2007 - 1:20 AM

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) - Exotic animal, owners, buyers and sellers - watch out! Vancouver's going to make it harder for you to deal in wild animals.
Vancouver City Council has unanimously passed a motion banning people from keeping certain exotic and wild animals as pets and banning businesses from selling them. They've also requested Mayor Sam Sullivan write a letter to the Union of BC Municipalities to consider a Province-wide ban.

Banned animals include such creatures as bears, large constrictor snakes, hyenas and alligators. Businesses will be prohibited from selling everything from elephants and birds of prey to venomous insects.

Council has also approved banning the use of exotic and wild animals in performances and shows.

http://www.cknw.com/news/news_local.cfm?cat=7428109912&rem=57527& red=80110923aPBIny&wids=410&gi=1&gm=news_local.cfm