Exotic animal massacre calls right to keep dangerous wild animals into question

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Exotic animal massacre calls right to keep dangerous wild animals into question

Muskingum County Ohio Animal Farm Killings

Federal legislation and several state-level bills are being considered to get a handle on the country’s out-of-control exotic pet ownership after an unstable owner unleashes more than 50 deadly wild animals to short-lived freedom and death in his town.

Ah, the U.S. Constitution – that infallible document written hundreds of years ago exclusively by rich white men guarantees that I have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

If keeping a tiger in a cage is what makes me happy, I should have the right to pursue it. If keeping my kids in a cage makes me happy, I should have that right too, right?

Did I go too far? Where does my right to happiness stop being protected by our laws? I suppose most people would say my happiness will be thwarted by law as soon as it infringes on another’s liberty.

Marian Thompson, widow of Terry Thompson who opened the cages of 56 exotic animals he was keeping on his farm – which included black bears, mountain lions and Bengal tigers – before he committed suicide, has now been awarded custody of the five animals who survived the massacre that ensued after Sheriff’s deputies hunted down 48 of the animals let loose on the roads of Zanesville, Ohio, in October of last year.

Muskingum County Animal Farm KillingsThis decision was made just as the Ohio Senate passed the Dangerous Wild Animals Act which would move Ohio from a state allowing anyone to posses any animal with no permit or registration required, to banning private ownership of dangerous wild animals. Ohioans currently owning lions and tigers and bears would be allowed to keep their animals as long as they registered them with the Ohio Department of Agriculture by 2014.

While most animal rights organizations support the bill, they also criticize two gaping exemptions which will allow people to continue acquiring large constricting snakes, and will also allow anyone associated with the United States Zoological Association (USZA) to continue acquiring dangerous wild animals.

Constricting snakes, while not poisonous, can and have killed people. The country was shocked when the media reported the killing of a small child in his crib by the mother’s boyfriend’s constricting snake which had escaped from its enclosure during the night and suffocated the helpless child to death.

Another group promoting the exotic animal trade is the United States Zoological Association which exists solely to protect people’s right to acquire and keep wild animals as personal property. The best thing about this association is its peroxide-bleached-blonde president, Joe Schreibvogel, whose mullet puts MacGuyver to shame. In his anti-Dangerous Wild Animal Act press conference, blondie tells reporters that Terry Thompson was murdered and his animals released as part of a planned conspiracy to ban the private ownership of exotic animals in the state.

Also on Schreibvogel’s death list is the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, federal legislation that would prohibit private possession of big cats except at places like highly qualified sanctuaries and zoos, and would require current owners to register their animals with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Breeding would also be outlawed except by certain zoos and research institutions.

Seems reasonable enough. Since I live in California, one of only a handful of states that does not allow private citizens from holding wild animals captive, I don’t have to worry, but these bills represent true measures of safety for people living in states like Ohio where nobody really knows how many Bengal tigers live in angry captivity next door.

In the past 22 years, 21 people have been killed and 246 mauled by big cats kept as pets, according to Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla. Escapes are common and often end in death for the fugitive animal.

Which brings us to the pesky animal rights issue. Who and what deserve to have which rights is an age-old question. For almost the entirety of civilization, it seemed perfectly reasonable that a person could own another person. At the time those rich white guys were writing about the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” 18 percent of Americans were enslaved.

The progression of a collective conscience brought us to abhor the thought of considering people as private property. While this mindset still applies in certain parts of the world where wives or children are regarded as a man’s property, the world as a whole understands keeping a person as property is wrong.

Animals, just like black people, women and children, feel pain, fear, happiness and suffer great mental, emotional and psychological distress when imprisoned and kept from acting out their most basic natural instincts.

I may really love and admire the beauty and wildness of a big cat. Maybe my life would be great if I could make a living off of keeping a few of these creatures in cages and charging people to come look at the poor beasts, only a shadow of their true wild selves. That may make me happy. But at what cost?

All of these people fighting to keep the trade in exotic pets are choosing their happiness over the happiness and liberty of other sentient beings. Just as the slave trade was hell on earth for the unfortunate Africans, the exotic pet trade is a dirty business exacerbating the destruction of wild habitat and the extinction of endangered animals in the wild.

Schreibvogel’s mulllet does not completely distract us from the abuse he is pedaling under the guise of personal property rights. Maybe he should promise to shave that thing to convince the public allowing unregulated accumulation of deadly animals is a basic human human right.

To email your elected official to support the federal ban
Sources and further reading

Tina is a journalist and mother of three who's lived all her life in the South Bay of Los Angeles except for a two-year stint in the heart of Spain. She believes humans have the capacity to make this a beautiful world for all species to live, and mothers have a special charge to raise their children to enjoy, love and respect all creatures.

  • Jesica

    Attacking someone for their looks is petty and low.

    Big Cat Rescue is NOT the authority on the issue and is the heated center of quite a bit of controversy.

    21 deaths in 22 years? Sounds like a damn good track record to me. Last year 791 people were killed by toasters. No one is trying to ban toasters.

    As far as the happiness involved with the animals? Not every exotic animal keeper keeps their animals in terrible conditions and is mean to them. To say that they are putting their own happiness in from of the animals is naive. Anyone out there that has a cat or dog will tell you their pet loves them, what makes exotics any different? The real cruel thing to do would be to take them away from the only home they’ve known, away from their owners that bottle raised them like children, and essentially ripping them away from their families to go live in in some underfunded sanctuary that won’t have the time or money to care for them half as well as their owners did.

    Ban irresponsible ownership, not responsible ownership.

    Also, I’ve been to “blondie’s” zoo, and I’ve been to Big Cat Rescue… and Blondie has nicer, cleaner and more professional facilities, and healthier animals, from a veterinary-technician’s point of view.

    Quit judging people by the way they look. I DARE you to visit BCR and Blondie’s zoo and still not be on his side. Go ahead. I look forward to your apologetic article.

  • Tina Page

    Jesica,

    Because of your passionate response to this editorial I feel you must be or have been an exotic animal owner, probably one that truly loved and cared for the animal.

    You are right about two things:

    1. Yes. It is petty to pick on someone for their looks but it’s just really hard for me to take someone with a mullet seriously. But, since he was born that way and can’t help it, I shouldn’t have pointed out that unfortunate bane of genetics.

    2. Yes. Toasters are extremely dangerous. I unplug mine every night because I know how risky they are for starting fires. We should be demanding a safer product from the manufacturers. But, I must say that my toaster suffers very little from being put in the cupboard when not in use, and my neighbors don’t have to worry that it will make its way over to their houses to start fires.

    If you read the article more closely, you will find that neither of the proposed laws mentioned will take any animals from anyone, they simply ban acquiring new animals and impose greater oversight on people who do already own exotics. This would be forcing more responsible ownership, something you support.

    The difference between dogs and cats and exotics is that dogs and cats are domesticated and basically hard-wired to thrive in our company. Exotics are wild and belong there.

    Lastly, you speak of the cruelty of taking an animal away from its family who bottle-fed it. Hmm. Why did the animal have to be bottle fed in the first place? Don’t avoid the fact that it was prematurely taken from its real mother/family before being weaned in order to make the people you support happy.

    The thing about rescues is they only exist because of irresponsible owners. These rescues will eventually go out of business if these laws they are supporting are passed. As there are no new animals to rescue from inhumane conditions and their own animals die off, there will be no need for Big Cat Rescue. I believe this is their goal or they would not be supporting the bills.

    I don’t doubt there are good people who love their big cats. But if they love them as they should they will realize the potential for abuse of other animals just like their own in roadside zoos and attractions and work to stop the trade in exotic animals.

  • Donna

    Before you quote statistics from Big Cat Rescue Tampa founded by Carole Baskin, you should read the truth about this roadside tourist attraction posing as a sanctuary. With their reputation for lies, deceit, and fraud, why should our legislators pay attention to anything they have to say? bigcatrescuelies.blogspot.com

  • Jessica

    It is really disgusting comparing exotic animals to the human slave trade. Should we all call our dogs, cats, fish etc slaves too? What about horses that work on farms? I don’t hear people crying for us to let them roam free. What makes exotics so different. WHO says they are unhappy born in captivity? How would you respond if these bans pass and 10 years from now all of the wild big cats are extinct and there are no more in private hands. Do you know that many zoos get their animals from private breeders as they do not have the space themselves to breed these animals when they can only house so many of each species to attract guests?

  • Tom

    This kind of article can’t possibly be coming from the winning side of this dispute.

  • LLovelace

    Journalist you are not, sorry.

    First off you would think that this person would get their facts correct, before even attempting to write an article, even one as biased as this one is.

    This article goes to show your maturity, attacking someone on their appearance? I mean do you really expect anyone to take your writings seriously, I guess not.

    Your so called “facts” (which were obviously retrieved from the Big Cat Rescue site), are all lies, made up by a sociopath, and yes I did call her that(I am entitled to my opinion) but it would require an assessment by a psychiatrist to make it a proven “fact”.

    You go on to infer that exotic animals are being “taken” from the wild, again you are wrong.
    And as their natural habitats are destroyed, what would you suggest?

    All of these groups such as born free USA, ifaw etc. have been around advocating for exotic animals? Born free USA was founded in 1968, 44 yrs ago, and animals are still being slaughtered in the wild. Where do I go to see a black rhino? Definitely won’t find one in the wild.

    Yes born free USA, along with all the others, are doing a bang up job.

    “As there are no new animals to rescue from inhumane conditions and their own animals die off, there will be no need for Big Cat Rescue. I believe this is their goal or they would not be supporting the bills”, are you smoking crack? Or are you just that dumb, and easily led?

    carole baskin wants to corner the market on exotic animals. her 911 sight fails to mention any of her ecapes, or maulings. Why is that? bcr is a joke, and a fraud, this IS a proven FACT, but you people feed into her soft spoken mannerisms, I bet you have even sent her your hard earned money (or rather your husbands hard earned money) to support animals that are her pets, yes pets that she purchased. hell the woman has spent almost $100K on so called “rescues”.

  • LLovelace

    Here is all the info you need to see what carole baskin is all about:
    http://www.rexano.org/BCR.htm

  • Debra

    Tina, First I would like to inform you that ANYONE can become a 501C3 non profit charity, ANYONE, it is just a matter of incorporating as a non profit ( with the correct 501c3 language) and filing for 501c3 status. The difference between a 501c3 and a plain old non profit is that the 501c3 pays NO TAXES. That is right with charity status you are exempt from income tax,property tax and sales tax, pretty good way to avoid taxes don’t you think! What I would like to know is how on earth the IRS can consider you a charity when you charge; alot I might add; to enter the facility. To me “charity” means to give; not to receive.
    Secondly, you state that only USZA associates would still be able to have exotics. You are mistaken, the law; in its’ current state allows AZA (association of zoo’s and aquariums) a 501C3 organization that accredits ONLY zoo’s and aquariums ( They DO NOT accredit sanctuaries.), ZAA (Zoological Association of America) also a 501C3 and GFAS (Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries) 501C3 to accredit the facilities housing these animals. NONE of these accredits private individuals and for the record “sanctuaries” are “private individuals” with a large collection of animals; this is a fact that is consistently unrecognized.
    The really interesting thing about this is that GFAS is, guess who? Carole Stairs Murdock Lewis Baskins’ baby, along with HSUS (hope you are vegan, look up their agenda). Years ago Baskin wrote her 20 year plan to get rid of Zoo’s and GFAS was part of that plan long before it actually came into existence (yes, I have a copy of that plan).
    Let me close by asking you a question—Suppose California was trying to pass a law that to have a dog you had to be accredited, it is very expensive to get accredited and you have 3 choices; The Michael Vick Federation (501C3), Lap dogs of America (sorry they only accredit for small dogs, you have the sweetest pit bull ever born x2 :) ) 501C3, and lastly Animal Control 501C3. Now not only do you have to PAY these people to accredit you, you also must meet and abide by THEIR standards, unless of course, you are able to BUY yourself some exceptions. Would you be receptive to this????
    THE AGENDA is to have a monopoly on the exotic cats by limiting the people that will be allowed to house them until only GFAS has them (it’s in the 20 year plan). What is the difference between a zoo habitat and a sanctuary cage?????

  • Sue

    Watch the “peroxide-bleached-blonde” (your words, not mine) Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue, lie her ass off on Bay News 9. bigcatrescuelies.blogspot.com

  • Donna

    Watch this “peroxide bleached blonde” (your words, not mine) Carole Lewis Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue, lie about cats she bought as pets and breeders being “rescued” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3U9lwrzk13c

    Then visit bigcatrescuelies.blogspot.com for the truth about this unethical woman and her quest to part you from your money by claiming she needs donations for her rescued cats.

  • Kate

    First off, I’d just like to say that I don’t own any exotic animals, so I don’t have a dog in this fight so to speak…

    But I am absolutely appalled by your article, and your anti-American attitude.

    Yes. Anti-American.

    You have an issue with the “rich white guys who wrote about the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, huh?? Well then get the hell out of this country and leave it to those of us who actually appreciate our freedom. Okay, you communistic snipe? We don’t want you here. You and anyone like you need to just GET OUT!

    See that’s the beauty of a free country. You can leave anytime! And I suggest that you do. Because you certainly don’t have much of a future in journalism here…

    If you read the sub bill more closely, you would find that if it is passed it WOULD give the government right to confiscate any animals on the “restricted species” list and relocate or euthanize them as required. (Plus via a carefully added loophole they are able to add any species of animal to this list at any time they choose, and with this bill so loosely worded that a “restricted species” doesn’t even have to classify as an exotic. Don’t think people don’t know that HSUS and PETA are working to add every pet species to these restrictions.) So Jessica is right in speaking of the cruelty and trauma in taking away people’s animals. The bill doesn’t just ban the breeding and replacement of the animals. It gives the government the right to kill them.

    But I surmise by your article that you think it’s better for animals to be killed rather than to be “kept in captivity”, eh? You’ve obviously never watched the Discovery channel then and seen what the wild is really like, with animals eating each other alive, being shot down and poached unmercifully, or dying young because of the horrific diseases and harsh lifestyle they are forced to sustain. But what would you know about harsh living, while you live in your plush American home without war or famine to compromise your comfortable lifestyle. Yep. D*mn those rich white guys for creating that “infallible” document to protect your rights to that. And d*mn exotic animal owners for giving their animals a loving home, and a good, healthy life free of abuse and slaughter.

    As for owning dogs and cats, why don’t we just slaughter all of those too, huh? After all, over 50,000 people are bitten by dogs on an annual basis (over 30 of which are killed, but they’re not banned …and tigers kill only about 1 annually- almost always the owner/handler… yet 20 people are killed by horses each year, but nobody’s banning them either. This bill is obviously NOT about public safety), shame on them for posing such a threat to humans. HSUS gives less than 1% of its income to needy shelters in order to take the rest and lobby against animal owners, which you obviously support, leaving PETA rescue centers so overrun and underfunded that they kill 95% of the animals in their shelters. So let’s just take away the right of every human being to own any kind of animal.

    According to your reasoning why don’t we just do this?… Since you compare it to the slavery of mankind… Let’s give all exotics, dogs, and cats equal rights with humans and let them decide what to do with their lives. Hell, let’s give them the right to own property, and to vote too! That ought to make you happy.

    Put animals in cages. Put kids in cages. Since we’re all voicing our opinions here, ya know what I think? I think we should abolish all American rights right here and now. Let’s put a law in effect against humans reproducing. Every person should have a license and IQ test in order to reproduce. And if you don’t qualify then you can’t have kids. Sounds good to me. And then when you do have kids, let’s microchip them so they can get cancer and other health problems (like this bill wants these animals to have).
    How dare people bring children into this world. Just think of all the abuse the poor children sustain in life. How dare we bring them into the world and expose them to mental and emotional trauma like divorce and single parenting, foster homes, and orphanages. How dare people. Playing with the emotions and welfare of another living being. How dare we force them to live on government charity like their parents. How dare we allow them to be born into abusive homes. How dare we force them into a class of society, or a boxed in room called school when they’d rather be running around outside playing. How dare we make them eat vegetables they hate, just because it’s good for them. How dare we force them to follow laws, or follow a life consuming career, and uphold obligations to their community and family whether they want to or not. They should be free right? Free to decide whether or not they are born in the first place. Free to choose any society or level of wealth they want. Free to go to school, or not, as they please. Free to live out their life without obligation or responsibility.

    Same thing. You breed an animal into existence. You bring a child into existence. You control the environment the animal is placed. You control the environment the child is placed. You determine what the animal’s lifestyle is. You determine the lifestyle your child has.

    So let’s ban children, so that a creature with emotions and feelings doesn’t suffer abuse or neglect. Ban them, so all these kids living in angry captivity don’t decide to take it to the neighbors or school one day and gun everybody down.

    Yep. By your reasoning, kids should be banned too. Dogs and cats, and other animals should have equal rights with humans and be able to vote. And the United States Constitution should be destroyed because it was written a long time ago by a bunch of rich white men. Brilliant. Just brilliant. POS

    You don’t deserve to call yourself an American. You don’t deserve the right to pursue your happiness in journalism, making money off of toying with the emotions and lives of your readers, and then turn around and speak against other people’s rights to freedom, happiness and income.

    You say that animal owners are wrong to keep a tiger in a cage if that’s what makes them happy. You say it’s wrong for people to make money off of animals.

    If that’s the case, then you would demand that all zoos be eradicated. Not just private animal owners. But you never said that, did you. You are two-faced, anti-capitalism, anti-freedom, and over all… anti-American.

    Your thinking is a detriment to society. It’s a detriment to this country’s freedom. How dare you spit in the faces of all those who have died, and experienced the horrors of war, in order to protect your unappreciated right to have the right to own property, to have the right to earn an income as you please, to have the right to bear children, and to have the right to write an unintelligent and treasonous article such as this.

    Shame on you.

    By the way. Terry Thompson killed himself? If you were any kind of a journalist you would’ve read the autopsy report before passing unwarranted judgment against “Blondie” and writing this pos article. Read this and tell me how a man shoots himself without gun residue left on his hands. Among the other inconsistencies…
    http://rexano.org/Zanesville/Final_Autopsy_Thompson.pdf
    But you probably already know this, being part of the task force against animal ownership in this country. Right? Because it’s obvious you have dog in this fight, albeit on the anti-American side.

    Heil Tina!! Communist advocate.

    Just do us all a favor and leave this country you so obviously hate…

    You aren’t welcome here.

  • Kate

    First off, I’d just like to say that I don’t own any exotic animals, so I don’t have a dog in this fight so to speak…

    But I am absolutely appalled by your article, and your anti-American attitude.

    Yes. Anti-American.

    You have an issue with the “rich white guys who wrote about the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, huh?? Well then get the hell out of this country and leave it to those of us who actually appreciate our freedom. Okay, you communistic snipe? We don’t want you here. You and anyone like you need to just GET OUT!

    See that’s the beauty of a free country. You can leave anytime! And I suggest that you do. Because you certainly don’t have much of a future in journalism here…

    If you read the sub bill more closely, you would find that if it is passed it WOULD give the government right to confiscate any animals on the “restricted species” list and relocate or euthanize them as required. (Plus via a carefully added loophole they are able to add any species of animal to this list at any time they choose, and with this bill so loosely worded that a “restricted species” doesn’t even have to classify as an exotic. Don’t think people don’t know that HSUS and PETA are working to add every pet species to these restrictions.) So Jessica is right in speaking of the cruelty and trauma in taking away people’s animals. The bill doesn’t just ban the breeding and replacement of the animals. It gives the government the right to kill them.

    But I surmise by your article that you think it’s better for animals to be killed rather than to be “kept in captivity”, eh? You’ve obviously never watched the Discovery channel then and seen what the wild is really like, with animals eating each other alive, being shot down and poached unmercifully, or dying young because of the horrific diseases and harsh lifestyle they are forced to sustain. But what would you know about harsh living, while you live in your plush American home without war or famine to compromise your comfortable lifestyle. Yep. D*mn those rich white guys for creating that “infallible” document to protect your rights to that. And d*mn exotic animal owners for giving their animals a loving home, and a good, healthy life free of abuse and slaughter.

    As for owning dogs and cats, why don’t we just slaughter all of those too, huh? After all, over 50,000 people are bitten by dogs on an annual basis (over 30 of which are killed, but they’re not banned …and tigers kill only about 1 annually- almost always the owner/handler… yet 20 people are killed by horses each year, but nobody’s banning them either. This bill is obviously NOT about public safety), shame on them for posing such a threat to humans. HSUS gives less than 1% of its income to needy shelters in order to take the rest and lobby against animal owners, which you obviously support, leaving PETA rescue centers so overrun and underfunded that they kill 95% of the animals in their shelters. So let’s just take away the right of every human being to own any kind of animal.

    According to your reasoning why don’t we just do this?… Since you compare it to the slavery of mankind… Let’s give all exotics, dogs, and cats equal rights with humans and let them decide what to do with their lives. Hell, let’s give them the right to own property, and to vote too! That ought to make you happy.

    Put animals in cages. Put kids in cages. Since we’re all voicing our opinions here, ya know what I think? I think we should abolish all American rights right here and now. Let’s put a law in effect against humans reproducing. Every person should have a license and IQ test in order to reproduce. And if you don’t qualify then you can’t have kids. Sounds good to me. And then when you do have kids, let’s microchip them so they can get cancer and other health problems (like this bill wants these animals to have).
    How dare people bring children into this world. Just think of all the abuse the poor children sustain in life. How dare we bring them into the world and expose them to mental and emotional trauma like divorce and single parenting, foster homes, and orphanages. How dare people. Playing with the emotions and welfare of another living being. How dare we force them to live on government charity like their parents. How dare we allow them to be born into abusive homes. How dare we force them into a class of society, or a boxed in room called school when they’d rather be running around outside playing. How dare we make them eat vegetables they hate, just because it’s good for them. How dare we force them to follow laws, or follow a life consuming career, and uphold obligations to their community and family whether they want to or not. They should be free right? Free to decide whether or not they are born in the first place. Free to choose any society or level of wealth they want. Free to go to school, or not, as they please. Free to live out their life without obligation or responsibility.

    Same thing. You breed an animal into existence. You bring a child into existence. You control the environment the animal is placed. You control the environment the child is placed. You determine what the animal’s lifestyle is. You determine the lifestyle your child has.

    So let’s ban children, so that a creature with emotions and feelings doesn’t suffer abuse or neglect. Ban them, so all these kids living in angry captivity don’t decide to take it to the neighbors or school one day and gun everybody down.

    Yep. By your reasoning, kids should be banned too. Dogs and cats, and other animals should have equal rights with humans and be able to vote. And the United States Constitution should be destroyed because it was written a long time ago by a bunch of rich white men. Brilliant. Just brilliant. POS

    You don’t deserve to call yourself an American. You don’t deserve the right to pursue your happiness in journalism, making money off of toying with the emotions and lives of your readers, and then turn around and speak against other people’s rights to freedom, happiness and income.

    You say that animal owners are wrong to keep a tiger in a cage if that’s what makes them happy. You say it’s wrong for people to make money off of animals.

    If that’s the case, then you would demand that all zoos be eradicated. Not just private animal owners. But you never said that, did you. You are two-faced, anti-capitalism, anti-freedom, and over all… anti-American.

    Your thinking is a detriment to society. It’s a detriment to this country’s freedom. How dare you spit in the faces of all those who have died, and experienced the horrors of war, in order to protect your unappreciated right to have the right to own property, to have the right to earn an income as you please, to have the right to bear children, and to have the right to write an unintelligent and treasonous article such as this.

    Shame on you.

    By the way. Terry Thompson killed himself? If you were any kind of a journalist you would’ve read the autopsy report before passing unwarranted judgment against “Blondie” and writing this pos article. Read this and tell me how a man shoots himself without gun residue left on his hands. Among the other inconsistencies… But you probably already know all this, being part of the task force against animal ownership in this country. Right? Because it’s obvious you have dog in this fight, albeit on the anti-American side.

    Heil Tina!! Communist advocate.

    Just do us all a favor and leave this country you so obviously hate…

    You aren’t welcome here.

  • LLovelace

    Kate, I love you!! Great reply, no AWESOME! reply

    • Kate

      :) My pleasure, llovelace! Keep up the good work. Keep fighting for your rights. You have more support out here than you think. Don’t let these commies bully you into thinking it’s a lost cause, because I promise you it isn’t. This is America. You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us. And we’re not going to take it!

  • Vera

    Thank you Kate and all others. This is America and Kate’s response could not have been better. I was SHOCKED to see that this is supposed to be a journalist (a true journalist will NOT let you know where their feelings are sided on) would come off the wall, attacking someone’s hair do or how they believe.
    And I just got my point proven. ARA are people that A. Have NEVER lived a true farm/ranch life. B. The most they have had the privilege to share their lives with is maybe a dog or cat.
    Arm chair quarter backing at it’s best.
    These cats have not been taken from the wild since the induction of CITES (you would have known that HAD you done any research) in 1975. The resultant cats of today of from years of captive breeding and if you research you will find that they are being ELIMINATED in the wild. So let’s take and eliminate them in captivity too,because the IFAW, Born Free et al are doing such a bang up job. This makes a whole lot of sense. NOT.
    And you DO have a higher risk of your toaster killing you than my cats because I do not allow contact of others with my cats. PERIOD. I have raised them FROM cubs. WHY? Because they MUST be handled so that REGULAR VET CARE can be provided without un-necessary tranquilization.
    And taking the word of BCR is a joke. Let’s talk about the Alabama bob cats that she tried to tell people first that they died of a congenital defect, then changed it to parvo that the VETS OFFICE gave them because they put them in with puppies (excuse me, but CPV and Panaleukopenia are parvo virus’s SPECIFIC to the species. Dogs get CPV and cats get Pan.. cannot be crossed over. AND then stated she did not do preventable vaccinations for fear that it would shed in the wild. Any RESPONSIBLE BIG CAT owner and Exotic vet knows these cats get a KILLED VACCINE THAT CANNOT SHED.

    • LLovelace

      AMEN Vera!!!!!

  • Veronica C.

    Dear Tina,

    First, I wonder where you received your journalism training, as it appears that you must have obtained it from inside a ‘Cracker Jack’ Box? One cannot take information from one source and one side; real journalism is seeking the truths from both sides of an issue and perhaps finding the middle or common ground that both sides have and revealing the facts.

    Second, I find it odd that all the HR groups and all these sanctuaries are out there crying to have all private animal owner rights taken away and there is the wording in these bills that will take away the domestic pet owner’s rights also. Beware of legislation made based on those people bearing pitchforks, torches and screaming to burn them (owners) as this knee jerk reaction is just that jerky…poorly planned and poorly written and it is shameful that they have wasted Taxpayer’s money by listening to the rhetoric spewed by the AR people who believe that being free or dead are the best options for the animals.

    Third, if you believe that sanctuaries are safer than even an AZA zoo; you are wrong; if you believe an AZA is safer than a private animal owner; you are wrong. If you believe that GFAS, ASA and AZA should be in any Bill; you are wrong. These groups are nothing more than a non-governing agency; so what does this mean to everyone and as well as our legislatures? It means that they do not have to hold ALL members to the same standards or regulations that are in written in their own by-laws. Don’t like the by-laws; no problem get a majority and change it to suit their individual needs.

    It is time that the light of the truth comes out and shines on this subject: Zoos created the need for brokers who in turn found a new venue to sell the surplus animals (by product of over breeding animals in order to have the cute babies to drive the public through their gates) and that was commercial breeders (pet, fur and hunting trades). Many of these commercial breeders found that their aging breeding stock doesn’t have a very lucrative resale value; so here they come with this new idea create a sanctuary and move their tools of the trade aka private pats into this 501c(3) and get tax benefits and free money from the donors to support their collection.

    More exotic rescues came about over the years because they had to go from private ownership due to threats of having their animals taken away because of animal neglect, abuse, or new ordinance changes; etc. One even became a rescue because they had placed a minor child into an enclosure with two cougars and the child was bitten…oh my yes they were able to obtain a USDA license and now have over 58+ exotics and still growing.

    Are sanctuaries safer than anyone even zoos? No, in fact, many of them do not have any crisis management plans; many do not have the infrastructure to prevent escapes in case of emergencies such as hurricanes or other incidents that may result in the release of these dangerous exotics (livestock and horses are dangerous too in conditions such as I am describing). Many do not operate their facilities as a business; instead they operate from the “we can’t say no” and keep asking for more donations; even when they can’t afford to buy a proper trailer to place the animal enclosures inside to transport to veterinarians and hospitals; instead they place an enclosure on top of a short flat bed trailer, throw a tarp over it, have two volunteers or staff riding on either side while driving down a road or highway (violation of state DOT and AWA regulations.

    Sanctuaries rely on volunteers to replace the need for experienced staff; they are not required to have a background check on them or on their staff or volunteers. They are also not required to report injuries to state or federal levels; so animal bites or attacks go unreported unless there is a death. Many of these sanctuaries are often exempt from meeting new standards and several do not meet AWA requirements because they say they can’t afford too. Many just out right lie about how they have obtained the animals…one rescue in fact paid $10,000 for a white tiger cub and his story was that he was rescued from horrible conditions; or the one they announced they rescued from a breeder; guess what the owner of the rescue was the breeder!

    If we agree to say that 85% of this country’s population are law abiding responsible citizens and the 15% remaining are either irresponsible or criminals; so lets apply that same percentages to those of animal owners…it is the 15% THAT THE MEDIA and SANCTUARIES and all these AR groups are ranting and raving. So it is because of 15% of those who we need to regulate and take away rights from the other 85%? NO!

    There are simple and common sense solutions to this issue and if all the ARs out there want to have an outright ban; then I have to say I am glad that I do not belong to any AR group and No I am not an exotic animal owner – I am an Animal Welfarist…it is about the animals and if our legislatures listen and write new laws that AR Groups are promoting; there is going to be a mass euthanization of animals that we have never seen in this country; owners will be hiding them once again, or moving them into other states many without proper health certifications…isn’t it time that we all put aside our differences, find our common ground and make choices that are better for the animals?

  • Carolyn Tate Higgs

    I love the way the author of this one sided piece mocks Joe & then even his genetics, but doesn’t have the courage to post her own picture. What’s the matter, afraid we’ll see you’re a peroxide blonde? And why does how Joe look have any effect on this issue? Is doesn’t except to hack writers who attempt to muddy issues with blatant written attacks on those they can’t find fault with. Furthermore, a TRUE journalist knows you are to report the facts of a situation, not layer on your opinions. That’s what an editorial is.

    You mention you believe Big Cat Rescue & Carole Baskins.Ah, Carole whose husband disappeared the day after he tried to get an order of protection from. His children believe Carole fed his body to some of her big cats. She has an agenda — to be the only person in the U.S. to have big cats. She “rescued” (bought ) cubs for years. Her own cats have injured visitors in her “overnight” cabins where you could sleep with one of her “safe, pet” big cats. Carole who tosses live rabbits to be shredded to death by her big cats.

    Private breeders, private zoos, municipal zoos are saving many rare & endangered species of animals worldwide. This includes big cats. Cubs often end up being raised by humans as their mothers reject them or because human raised cats make safer cats to have in zoos, preserves, wildlife parks, & private breeders. Don’t lump irresponsible people with responsible people. Private breeding mixed with breeding programs around the world are saving many species of animals & is vital to continue for the safety of these animals.

    And when you mention Zaneville, why don’t you mention the gun used to kill Terry was one owned by a deputy there? Or that Terry was described as lazy, had the keys on him, so why would he work hard (and it is very hard) to cut locks? Why were no crime scene photos taken of the cut locks? Why were Terry’s pants unbuttoned, unzipped, & pulled down? I’ve worked around big cats & have yet to see one who undressed people. And why were raw chicken parts placed in a circle around Terry’s dead body? Also, why wasn’t he attacked & mauled after opening just a couple of cages? Why haven’t you, as a “journalist” look into these aspects of the situation? Or is it that you can only show disrespect about someone’s hair? If that’s all you can write about, go back to school & learn another trade, maybe flipping burgers.

  • Katarina

    The Anti-Everything people who are commenting here are part of Joe Exotics band of Merry Losers! Want the truth about these people go to this link http://911animalabuse.com/2011/09/11/gw-exotics-animal-foundation/

    • LLovelace

      Katarina you are a JOKE! a keyboard ninja wannabe, get a life!

  • LLovelace

    And your link to a site set up by carole baskin, another joke! I don’t see her posting where the animals in her care have mauled people, or her being written up for animal neglect & abuse, or her animal escapes, or her many usda violations. Hmmmmmmm

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