Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wildlife keeper loses his job for letting girl pose with tiger in cage

Wildlife keeper loses his job for letting girl pose with tiger in 
cage 

Last Updated: 2:51am GMT 28/02/2008

By Tom Peterkin

A WILDLIFE keeper has lost his job at an animal sanctuary for 
allowing children to pose for pictures stroking a tiger inside its 
cage.

The action was taken against Norman Elder, 44, after pictures of a 
young girl petting the 15-year-old Sumatran tiger called Sonya 
appeared on the social networking website Bebo.


His website, Wildlife Northern Ireland, had carried a picture showing 
a young girl bending down and scratching the head of the tiger as Mr 
Elder looked on. By yesterday the image had been removed.

Mr Elder had been running the Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre 
on behalf of the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to 
Animals for two years. He also took care of wolves, snakes, lizards 
and dangerous dogs at the centre.

But he was removed from the facility in Ballymoney, Co Antrim, this 
week after the charity called in police.

Stephen Philpott, of the USPCA, said he was shocked by pictures of 
visitors inside the tiger enclosure and said he had no option but to 
act after it was brought to his attention.

Mr Philpott said: "The premises in question are under the charge of 
the USPCA and we feel that people were exposed to an unacceptable 
level of risk because of what happened.

"We decided that we could not let it go on any longer which is why we 
took the action that we did to regain control of the site." Last 
night Mr Elder - who is licensed to keep dangerous wild animals - 
insisted he had done nothing wrong in letting people be photographed 
with Sonya.

He said: "There is no law against it and at the time I thought that 
the tiger was behaving well enough for someone to go into the 
enclosure with her.

"A tiger is a dangerous animal and there are safety issues involved 
which is why I don't let everyone go in. I don't accept that I have 
done anything wrong.

"Because she was bred in captivity she is not aggressive and the only 
danger is if she decides to play because she's so strong.

"She is unusually docile and doesn't get stressed from being in a 
cage or having contact with humans. She does take to certain people."

Mr Elder has been looking after Sonya - who he considers to be a pet -
for two years. She was among a number of wild cats rescued by the 
USPCA from a house in Omagh. Her enclosure is the former elephant 
compound of an old safari park.

Later, the USPCA unearthed the bodies of four headless lions on the 
sanctuary site. The elderly lions were put down in April because no 
home could be found for them following the closure of the safari park 
a few years ago.

"Apparently lions' heads fetch big money from taxidermists. They are 
also used in some traditional African medicines," said a USPCA 
spokesman. "You have to ask if these animals were disposed of 
properly."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?
xml=/news/2008/02/28/ntiger128.xml

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:


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Friday, February 22, 2008

Tiger breeder eyes Idaho

Tiger breeder eyes Idaho

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2:06 AM MST

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) -- A Nevada man who keeps tigers and other endangered large cats is challenging in court a decision by the Idaho Department of Agriculture that prevents him from moving his operation into the state.

Peter Renzo is a licensed big cats trainer and president of the Siberian's Are Becoming Rapidly Extinct Foundation, or S.A.B.R.E. Foundation, based in Carson City, Nev., and dedicated to saving endangered big cats. He started the foundation in 2001.

He owns five Siberian tigers and a black leopard, and said he expects to have two more white Bengal tigers at the end of this month.

In October, he announced plans to move his nonprofit operation to eastern Idaho, where he said he wants to breed the cats and perform live shows.

But the state Department of Agriculture barred the move.

Greg Ledbetter, administrator and state veterinarian of the Division of Animal Industries, recently wrote Renzo a letter explaining the decision.
The letter said the department had questions about Renzo's qualifications, and that any such move would require all the cats be spayed or neutered before entering Idaho.

Renzo said he's been licensed to exhibit big cats for more than 30 years, and cited the endangered status of his tigers and black leopard as why he will not spay or neuter the animals.

He filed a request for a judicial review of the agency's decision with 7th District Judge Darren B. Simpson. That review is scheduled for April 21.

"Basically, I don't understand the other side of the story," Renzo said. "Who the hell wants to castrate an endangered animal?"

Ledbetter did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Renzo said that if a resolution isn't reached at the April 21 review, he will continue with legal action against the department. He said he has the same rights as other zoos in the state.

"We want to save all the cats," he told the Idaho State Journal. "If we can save a cat, we're going to save it. There's also not that many Siberians left worldwide, and it's hard to keep count because they're so elusive and stay in forested areas. We need to keep a viable population of them because we're losing them."

Renzo said that if the judicial review goes his way, he will open the "Tiger Pavilion" sometime this summer. He said a location hasn't been selected, but it will likely be between Idaho Falls and Blackfoot.

"It's a beautiful area," he said.

http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2008/02/20/news/regional/7d839a54d7e53fed872573f40077e463.txt


Note from Dee: I did post a comment to this story, but I have not seen it posted on their site yet. Here is a copy of my comment:

The Siberian or Amur Tiger is endangered, but to breed them for a life in captivity, and to have them perform in live shows is wrong. A true sanctuary does not breed or exploit its animals.

The Siberian Tiger is bred within the Survival Species Plan and there is no reason why this animal should be bred by sanctuaries or be bred and kept by private owners.

"The captive program for Amur tigers is the largest and longest managed program for any of the subspecies. The Amur tiger served as one of the models for the creation of scientifically managed programs for species in captivity in zoos and aquariums worldwide. According to the 1997 International Tiger Studbook there are about 501 Amur tigers managed in zoos. This captive population is descended from 83 wild-caught founders. For the most part, the Amur tiger is considered secure in captivity, with a large, genetically diverse and stable population."

"The Amur tiger global captive population is divided primarily into two well-managed regional populations, the North American Species Survival Plan population of about 150 tigers and the European Breeding Program population of about 225 tigers. Another 90 or so Amur tigers are maintained in zoos in Japan, but the level of captive management of this population is undetermined. Tigers are exchanged between the North American Species Survival Plan population and the European Breeding Program to maximize gene diversity in the two populations."

Source: http://www.savethetigerfund.org/Content/NavigationMenu2/Community/TigerSubspecies/AmurSiberianTigers/default.htm

As to the white tigers referred to in this article, they are the result of severe inbreeding, that is, mother to son, father to daughter and sister to brother. Most of the cubs produced are born with profound birth defects, such as immune deficiency, scoliosis of the spine (distorted spine), cleft palates, mental impairments and grotesquely crossed eyes.

Please visit this link for more information about white tigers: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/cats/wild/white_tigers.htm

There are reputable sanctuaries that care for unwanted, neglected and abused big cats. They do not breed them to bring more cats into a life of captivity or exploit them in shows; they provide the care, safety and respect these cats deserve. Unfortunately there are also the "so-called" sanctuaries and organizations that try to pass themselves off as reputable – if they breed and show their animals, they do not have the cats' well-being at heart.

For The TIGER
Dee

http://savethetigers62.blogspot.com/

http://360.yahoo.com/tigerlady.1962

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/savethetigers/

http://www.myspace.com/friendsoftatiana

http://www.myspace.com/savethetigers1962
 
 
 



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Monday, February 18, 2008

City Ordinance Lifted To Allow Owners To Keep Poisonous Snakes

http://www.wftv.com/irresistible/15330149/detail.html

City Ordinance Lifted To Allow Owners To Keep Poisonous Snakes

POSTED: 8:00 am EST February 18, 2008

DELTONA, Fla. -- A Deltona city ordinance banning venomous snakes will lose its bite. City commissioners plan to change the rule during their regular meeting, Monday, after a local snake owner challenged it. 

Brian Radenberg owns more than 50 poisonous snakes and was told he had 30 days to lose the snakes or move. But Radenberg said he's licensed by the state to have them. 

"I've been doing this for so long I wouldn't even know what to do without them," Radenberg said. 

City leaders became worried the snakes would pose a public safety threat if they ever escaped and they banned them within city limits, but their attorney found they didn't have the authority to override the state's regulations of reptiles.

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

Sign our petition here:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/344896451?ltl=1140270431

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.



Friday, February 15, 2008

Tiger mauls sanctuary volunteer

Tiger mauls sanctuary volunteer

From WTSP Tampa Bay 10
DAVENPORT - Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators have charged 51 year old Darrell Atkinson of Davenport with keeping a tiger in a substandard cage.

The charge and three related warning citations are the result of a Feb. 9 tiger attack on Brenda Chapman, who worked as a volunteer at the Horseshoe Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, founded by Atkinson. According to investigators, Ms. Chapman was cleaning the tiger's cage when the animal mauled her left leg and right hand.

The attack occurred when Atkinson was out of state and reportedly had left unqualified workers in charge of the facility. In addition to the caging violations, a culpable negligence charge against Atkinson is pending in the State Attorney's office. After the attack, FWC investigators conducted a full inspection of the sanctuary and found a tiger in a 13 x 13-foot cage, constructed of 11-gauge wire with no safety entrance (which would enable workers to enter and exit the cage with minimum safety hazards). The state requirement is for tigers to have 10 x 24-foot cages, constructed of 9-gauge wire and a safety entrance.

Read More From WTSP Tampa Bay 10

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

Sign our petition here:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/344896451?ltl=1140270431

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.



Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Central Florida counties seek stricter snake ownership laws

Central Florida counties seek stricter snake ownership laws

A state association will meet with wildlife officials to seek stricter requirements for owners of risky pets.
 
Denise-marie Balona | Sentinel Staff Writer
February 9, 2008
 
DELTONA - You'd never know that inside Brian Radenberg's house on Snow Drive are the things of nightmares.
 
Well, nightmares for many people. The 54 cobras, vipers and other venomous serpents slithering in locked glass cages are Radenberg's pets.
 
And, until recently, he was able to raise and breed them as he pleased. But city officials learned about the deadly creatures and now want them out.
 
"What if they get loose?" asked Dale Baker, who heads code enforcement in Volusia County's biggest city. "What if there was a tornado that dropped out of the sky? Then we'd have 50 venomous snakes crawling around."
 
However, keeping snakes at home is legal with a state license, and there's little that local governments such as Deltona can do. Only the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has authority over who can have venomous reptiles and other exotic animals such as tigers and bears.
 
Other Florida communities have long been frustrated about what they consider a public-safety hazard. Seeking action, the Florida Association of Counties has called a special meeting this month with the wildlife commission. The association, a tax-funded lobbying and education group, will ask the commission Feb. 25 to begin requiring owners of dangerous pets to undergo criminal-background checks and to somehow warn firefighters, paramedics and police about the animals.
 
Association leaders also will request that the state limit dangerous animals to certain areas, association spokeswoman Cragin Mosteller said.
 
Ideal climate
 
Hundreds come to this state to raise snakes because the warm climate is ideal. In Central Florida, zoos, laboratories and universities are licensed to keep venomous reptiles. But the vast majority of the region's nearly 50 licenses are held by residents who keep snakes at home.
 
"People throughout history have been infatuated with wildlife and wanted to contain it and study it, and this is an evolution of that," said wildlife-commission Capt. John D. West, who oversees snake licensing.
 
Many owners try to keep a low profile so their neighbors don't panic. But West said enthusiasts such as Radenberg, 37, and Josh Kibbey, a 29-year-old snake keeper in Oviedo, are experienced and careful.
 
They also have met strict requirements, including completing 1,000 hours of training and passing surprise inspections.
 
Kibbey, who keeps about a dozen venomous snakes in the house he shares with his mom in Seminole County, has worked with snakes for years. He thinks more people would become snake fans if they took the time to learn about them. But they're not for everyone.
 
"You get people that they got to have the newest car or the biggest animal and this and that -- because nobody else has it," said Kibbey, who works at a pet shop. "I don't want somebody getting into it for the wrong reason."
 
Industry leaders and scholars said interest in reptiles and ownership has grown in Florida and around the world. The number of licenses issued in this state, however, has fallen since the permit fee rose from $5 to $100 about five years ago.
 
Penalties for unlicensed snakes
 
State officials acknowledge there are likely people in Florida who own deadly snakes but do not have licenses -- a crime punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
 
Florida's snake-friendly rules are one of the main reasons the state is attractive to snake keepers, said B.W. Smith, who owns Southern Reptile Education, a Smyrna-Ga.-based consulting and training group.
 
Smith said some states and cities have been terrorized by snakes and, as a result, have prohibited venomous reptiles or adopted regulations so stringent that they amount to a virtual ban.
 
"We saw this happen in Alabama several years ago," he said via e-mail. "Some idiot had a couple cobras get loose in his trailer park, and the state promptly proposed an all-out ban. It was later changed to a permit system. We most often see this in cities."
 
Orange County Commissioner Linda Stewart said deadly snakes have no place in homes. If the reptiles escape -- even if they avoid humans, as scholars say they do -- they can endanger small pets.
 
In October, two policemen helped catch a 4-foot-long monitor lizard with potentially toxic saliva in Edgewood that had forced dogs and cats indoors.
 
"The zoos are very much capable of taking care of the exotics," Stewart said.
 
Denise-Marie Balona can be reached at dbalona@orlandosentinel.com or 386-851-7916.

 

Carole's letter to the reporter:

Dear Denise-Marie

Thank you for covering the issue of deadly pets.  Florida is a haven more because of its lax rules and enforcement than climate though.  It is just gibberish to insinuate the that test administered by the state does anything to safeguard the public and the hours are often bought, not worked.  If unscrupulous breeders and dealers will "sell" letters stating community service hours were worked, (as was the case this past week in FL when Darryl Atkinson was arrested again) why would anyone doubt that they will "sell" letters that illustrate compliance with the 1,000 hour rule?

A few facts, photos and video here:

The tiger made the top of an International poll for most beloved animal (beating out both the dog and cat), but those who love tigers don't want to see them in cages.  The following poll shows that 76% of the public would support a ban on all exotic cats as pets:

 

Would you support a ban on exotic cats as pets?

 

 

 

 

Answers

Votes

Percent

1.

 

Yes

4418

76%

2.

 

No

1433

24%

 

 

 

 

Public opinion isn't the only reason why these back yard menageries should be outlawed:

 

The following is a partial listing (531) of incidents involving captive big cats in the US since 1990. These incidents have resulted in the killing or deaths of 84 big cats, 20 human deaths, more than 174 human maulings, 143 exotic cat escapes and 113 confiscations.   http://www.bigcatrescue.org/big_cat_news.htm

 

To see a video of the mauling of a zoo keeper in 2006 go to http://www.bigcatrescue.org/animal_contact.htm

 

The Journal of Internal Medicine in 2006 estimated that 50 million people worldwide have been infected with zoonotic diseases since 2000 and as many as 78,000 have died. Read more about zoonotic diseases here:http://www.bigcatrescue.org/zoonosis.htm

 

To see the number of exotic cats abandoned each year go to http://www.bigcatrescue.org/animal_abuse.htm

 

To view a trend chart that shows the alarming escalation of big cat incidents here: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/Flash/BigCatBans/BigCatBanCharts.htm

 

The U.S. represents less than 5% of the entire global population, but 67% of ALL captive cat incidents occur in the U.S.  Likewise, Florida represents less than 6% of the U.S. population while 13% of all U.S. incidents occur in Florida.  California and Florida boast the most comprehensive sets of regulations allowing private ownership of exotic cats while ranking #3 and #1 respectively in the highest numbers of big cat killings, maulings and escapes. To view photos of fatal injuries from cases reported in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine click http://www.bigcatrescue.org/laws/AMJForensicFeline.pdf 

 

This video shows facilities that are currently licensed and approved by the USDA and the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission that have been operating at this level or worse for more than 10 years and yet are still open to the public.  Florida boasts that they have the best laws in the country, but as mentioned above, it is the second facility for Doc Antle.  Between FL and SC animals can disappear on paper at will as neither state takes note of where the animal goes after it crosses the border.  It leaves SC on paper for FL and no one here is ever looking for the animal to arrive.  These images are typical of those who allow cameras in but there are many worse ones who do not.   This shows precisely why we need to ban private possession of exotic cats.http://www.veoh.com/videos/v2570412PGPYhmr

 

 

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

Sign our petition here:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/344896451?ltl=1140270431

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.



Saturday, February 09, 2008

Battle for protection

Battle for protection

The fight for animal rights is gaining momentum
Larry Copeland
USA Today
February 9, 2008


The growing influence of animal rights activists increasingly is affecting daily life, touching everything from the foods Americans eat to what they study in law school, where they buy their puppies and even whether they should enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride in New York's Central Park.

Animal activist groups such as the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals say they are seeing a spike in membership as their campaigns spread.

"There's been an explosion of interest" in animal welfare issues, says David Favre, a Michigan State University law professor and animal law specialist. "Groups like the Humane Society of the United States and PETA have brought to our social awareness their concerns about animals and all matter of creatures."

"Animals are made of flesh and blood and bone just like humans," says Bruce Friedrich, PETA's vice president for campaigns. "They feel pain just like we do. Recognition of that grows year by year. The animal rights movement is a social justice movement (similar to) suffrage and civil rights."

Among other initiatives, PETA supports a measure introduced last month by a New York city councilman that would ban carriage horses that haul tourists around Manhattan.

"I think it's clear that animal issues are part of the public domain like never before," says Michael Markarian, executive vice president of the Humane Society, the largest animal welfare organization.

Food producers say the activists aren't just concerned about animal welfare but are trying to win them the same rights as human beings.

"Ultimately, their goal is to eliminate animals being used as food," says Kay Johnson-Smith of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, an industry-supported organization that seeks to educate the public about agriculture. "There's a real danger when we allow a very small minority of activists to dictate procedures that should be used to raise animals for food."

Animal rights campaigns are moving on several fronts:

•The Humane Society says it expects 28 state legislatures, including Idaho, this year to consider strengthening existing bans on dogfighting and cockfighting; Washington is among 13 states considering bills regulating "puppy mills," mass dog-breeding operations that keep puppies in small crates.

•Massachusetts activists are collecting signatures to get a statewide initiative on the November ballot that would ban commercial greyhound racing by 2010. The Committee to Protect Dogs says state records show that since 2002, 728 greyhounds have been injured racing at the state's two tracks. Live greyhound racing is already banned in Idaho and Washington.

•Over the past three years, 330 colleges have stopped or dramatically reduced the use of eggs from hens in cramped wire crates called battery cages; retailers including Burger King, Hardee's, Carl's Jr. and Ben & Jerry's now use eggs produced by cage-free hens, Markarian says.


Animal rights legislation in the works

In Washington, lawmakers are considering several bills aimed at curtailing "puppy mills" that sell sick or genetically flawed dogs.

The bills require that a veterinarian examine an animal four weeks or less before it's sold, and that pet dealers disclose the dog's history and medical information. Someone who unknowingly buys a sick animal could get a refund, replacement animal, or reimbursement of veterinary costs.

The bills include Senate bills 6408 and 6735, and House Bill 2511.

Other pet-related bills in Washington's statehouse this year include one allowing owners to sue over the wrongful death of a companion animal (HB 2945) and allowing pets to be included in domestic-violence protection orders (HB 2836).

Idaho has legislation pending to make dogfighting a felony. The bill already has overwhelmingly passed the Senate, and is awaiting a House committee hearing.

Idaho is currently one of just two states (Wyoming is the other) that doesn't make dog fighting a felony. The bill also makes it a misdemeanor to attend a dogfight as a spectator – which now is legal in Idaho. The bill is expected to pass and Gov. Butch Otter already has expressed his support.

– Richard Roesler and Betsy Z. Russell

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/features/story.asp?ID=231131


For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

Sign our petition here:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/344896451?ltl=1140270431

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.