Lutz and HedrenTestify -‘serial killers’ -seriously!?!

**Sometimes people say the dumbest things, even to congress…funny thing, I don’t think anyone is actually aware of the flawed testimony!!!

First thing we hear from Hedron is that there are as many as 20,000 bug cats that are not accounted for in the US and then she says the: “The reason I became involved is that nobody was doing anything about this rapid growth of these serial killers,”…Almost laughable however considering the seriousness of what this bill can and will do to big cat owners and how it would effect conservation of these animals, it must be taken seriously…I am mainly without comment on any of this. Banning these animals takes on an air of increased demise of  our constitutional rights and will effect the future of all animals. If you don’t think that it will do nothing and watch more of your freedoms disappear…

Background information [NOTE: Please notice who testified and as far as I know, not one person represented Big Cat owners so they are only hearing one side of the story-ALARMING!!!]

from care2- [Note: this is a petition site where anyone from anywhere in the world can sign a petition in support of these very bad bills]

“U.S. Senator John Kerry recently introduced a Senate version of the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R. 4122/S. 3547), which is intended to protect big cats and the public by putting an end to the private ownership and breeding of big cats in the U.S.

The question of whether or not people should be allowed to own big cats came into the national spotlight last year after Terry Thompson opened the cage doors at his Zanesville, Ohio home and set 56 exotic animals free before taking his own life. Local law enforcement was unprepared for such a situation and ended up killing 50 animals in the interest of public safety… 38 of them were big cats.

Six other animals, including three big cats, were left in cages and spared from the incident, but one was later euthanized at the Columbus Zoo after being accidentally crushed under a gate.

“It is estimated that there are 10,000 to 20,000 big cats currently held in private ownership in the U.S. In the past two decades, more than 300 dangerous incidents involving captive big cats have resulted in the deaths of 21 people (including 5 children) and close to 250 additional humans have been mauled or injured. In addition, scores of big cats have been killed,” according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

There are currently only 29 states that have laws banning the private possession of big cats, while the remaining states have weak or no laws at all in place, leaving big cats to suffer in any number of situations that can range from simply not meeting their needs to being downright abusive.

In the case of captive tigers, there are estimated to be thousands that are classified as “generic,” not purebred, and are therefore not protected as endangered due to a USFWS rule that exempts them from the permit and reporting requirements that are required for endangered species, adding to the gaps in regulations where they’re concerned. There is no way to definitively track how many tigers there are, who owns them, where they’re kept or what happens to them when they die.

The lack of regulation has also led to worries that captive tigers may be vulnerable to domestic and international illegal trade, and if they are that it would increase trade and subsequently demand, which would further threaten the remaining tigers in the wild. Keeping tigers and other big cats in captivity also does nothing for conservation or to address the role they play as top predators in the ecosystem.

“It’s a little hard to believe that there’s a crazy patchwork of regulations governing people who try to keep wild cats as pets. I know it sounds like something you just read about when there’s a tragic news story, but it’s all too real for first responders who respond to a 911 call and are surprised to come face to face with a Bengal tiger,” said Sen. Kerry. “This bill will ensure that these endangered creatures are kept in secure, professional facilities like wildlife sanctuaries rather than in small cages in someone’s backyard or apartment building.”

A congressional briefing to support this legislation is also scheduled for September 20 and will feature actress Tippi Hedren, President and Founder of the Roar Foundation, Matt Lutz, Muskingum County Sheriff, Tracy Coppola, IFAW’s Big Cats Campaigns Officer, Nancy Blaney, Federal Policy Advisor for the Animal Welfare Institute, Nicole Paquette, Deputy Director for Programs & Policy for the HSUS and Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA.

“We are grateful to Senator Kerry for his leadership in seeking protection of big cats and citizens,” said Coppola. “Federal control is essential toward effectively knowing how many dangerous big cats are being kept in private hands, under what conditions, and where.”

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I guess the opposition to this is ‘out of steam’…having suffered a great loss in Ohio. Please note, there is more on that coming in a few weeks that will halt the new Ohio regulations.

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http://wtvr.com/2012/09/20/could-proposed-animal-legislation-close-metro-richmond-zoo/

Could proposed animal legislation close Metro Richmond Zoo?

[NOTE:video at link]

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Legislation aimed at increasing public safety could possibly close popular animal exhibits in Virginia.

Under proposed legislation, only exhibits and zoos accredited by the American Zoological Association would be able to breed new animals, beginning a slow process that could eventually close places like the Metro Richmond Zoo and Maymont’s Nature Center.

“Sometimes when bills are presented to legislators, they’ll read through them and say ‘oh this sounds good’ and then there are some unintended consequences,” Jim Andelin, Director of the Metro Richmond Zoo, told CBS 6.

Andelin says his zoo is one of the largest in Virginia, attracting over 200,000 visitors a year.
Part of the reason so many visit is because they get an opportunity to see “exotic” animals like lions, tigers, and bears.

“Can you imagine coming to a zoo ten years from now, no cats or primates, it would be a pretty pitiful place,” Andelin says.

An increase in attention is being paid to animal regulations in the aftermath of an exotic animal escape in Ohio last year.

Governor McDonnell has directed the state to review various regulations to see what the likelihood of an animal escape is in Virginia. The Dangerous Animal Initiative convened this week to begin the process of recommending to the state what, if anything, needs to be done to increase public safety.

Buz Bireline, Director of Exhibits at Maymont’s Nature Center, hopes the Dangerous Animal Initiative provides practical recommendations to the Governor’s office and the General Assembly.

“Instead of total prohibition, they need to consider what is responsible behavior that increases public safety,” Bireline told CBS 6.

Delegate Chris Peace, one of the author’s of the proposed legislation that has ignited this debate, told CBS 6 off camera that the Dangerous Animal Iniative’s Report will be crucial in deciding what if any new rules should be passed by the General Assembly.

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http://www.whiznews.com/content/news/local/2012/09/20/sheriff-lutz-testifies-before-congress

Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz testified before Congress.

Sheriff Lutz spoke about what happened last October when Terry Thompson released dozens of exotic animals from his Kopchak Road farm before committing suicide.

Most of the animals had to be killed by deputies.  Lutz said federal legislation would help authorities track the cats and conduct inspections.

“What I want to see is law enforcement given a little bit more authority to assist like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and come in and do inspections on these people that have exotic animals as pets,” said Lutz.  “Local law enforcement should have inventory lists of what are on these properties in Muskingum County.”

Tougher rules on exotic animal ownership went into effect in Ohio earlier this month.

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http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/09/21/big-cats-cant-be-pets-congress-told.html

Big cats can’t be pets, Congress told

WASHINGTON — Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz and actress Tippi Hedren urged Congress yesterday to swiftly approve a nationwide ban on the private ownership of lions, tigers and other dangerous cats.

At a news conference on Capitol Hill, Lutz told reporters that “seven states across the United States don’t have any regulations at all. That’s why it’s important for (this bill) to be passed. If something like this can happen in Zanesville, Ohio, it can happen anywhere in the United States.’’

Hedren, who played in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic The Birds, said a new federal law is needed “to stop the breeding of these serial killers.”

In particular, she cited last year’s tragedy near Zanesville in which a man released more than 50 exotic animals he kept on his farm and then committed suicide. Lutz and deputy sheriffs were forced to shoot and kill 18 tigers, 17 African lions and three cougars, among other animals.

“I am on a mission to get this done,” said Hedren, who operates a large preserve for big cats in California. “I love these animals more than my next breath. But they are not pets. …

“It’s out of hand,” she said. “We don’t even know how many big cats there are living in the United States. In most states, it’s more difficult to get a license for your dog than have a tiger living in your backyard.”

The bill, which has been introduced in both the House and Senate, would allow only zoos or wildlife sanctuaries to possess any of these big cats. Any person who owned such an animal could face as much as $20,000 in fines and five years in prison.

Hedren, whose daughter is actress Melanie Griffith, said there as many as 20,000 big cats that are privately owned in the United States. She cited one couple who chose to keep a large leopard in a closet in their home.

“The reason I became involved is that nobody was doing anything about this rapid growth of these serial killers,” she said. “And let’s look at it that way because that’s what they are. You cannot take those instincts away from them.”

The International Fund for Animal Welfare, which sponsored the news conference, reports that in the past 20 years, captive big cats have killed 21 people, including five children.

The Senate version of the bill is sponsored by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., while the House version is co-sponsored by Republican Buck McKeon of California and Democrat Loretta Sanchez of California.

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**Just a reminder that there is a disclaimer connected t this blog. Opinion of my own and others are expressed…

~ by topcatsroar on September 21, 2012.

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