What if a tiger lived next door?
By JENNIFER HOBGOOD
Special to The Sun
12:00 am, October 7, 2007
If your neighbors are keeping a tiger or a bear in their backyard, wouldn't you like to know about it?
Hundreds of people hold permits to possess exotic wildlife in
A rancher in Okeechobee had asked the commission to require such disclosure because she was shocked to learn that her neighbor was keeping a tiger and five bears on his property. An
When hurricane Andrew hit
Despite these serious risks, the commission ditched a proposed requirement to notify neighbors when a person auires a dangerous animal. Under the commission's proposal, immediate neighbors would be notified only if an animal escapes.
But notifying next-door neighbors about escapes is simply not good enough: I think all of us would like to know if we live two houses - or two blocks - away from a lion, and if that lion gets loose.
Beyond the captive wildlife notification rule decision, there's another question about the cruelty of keeping wild animals as pets. The federal government and other states are taking steps to curb the exotic wildlife trade, and
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently began implementing the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, which Congress passed in 2003 to prohibit interstate movement of lions, tigers, and other big cats as pets. People buy the cats as cubs and are then not equipped to care for them as they grow larger.
Congress is now considering the Captive Primate Safety Act to provide the same protection for monkeys, chimpanzees, and other primates, and the Humane Society of the
This is an opportunity to remind the Commission that citizens deserve to know what dangerous exotic animals are lurking in their neighborhoods. It is also time for us to address larger questions:
Jennifer Hobgood is program coordinator for the southeast regional office of The Humane Society of The United States.