Once again a licensed private facility, inspected and regulated by federal and state agencies, has proven how cruel and inhumane private ownership of wild animals can be. And, once again, the tragedy in Ohio is just the tip of the iceberg.
PAWS was founded in 1984 to address the need for better laws and standards of care for captive wildlife. Our sanctuary is full of animals who were allowed to be kept in substandard conditions, neglected and suffering, until some catastrophe occurred and they were confiscated. Our files are also full of case studies of incidents like the one in Ohio and its tragic ending.
More importantly, we are presently attempting to obtain the release of animals and the closure of several other private exotic animal facilities throughout the country. These facilities will continue to operate until private ownership of exotic species is prohibited and captive breeding is kept to a minimum.
Too many well-intentioned, uninformed and uneducated individuals collect exotic animals and use them as a source of entertainment for the public, and income for themselves, without considering the responsibility to the animals and the public. When they are confronted with reality, they often respond irrationally and the animals always pay. Often, innocent spectators are injured or killed. In Ohio, the public was protected, the animals were not.
Tigers, grizzly bears, lions, leopards and the plethora of species that are kept in roadside zoos, backyards and traveling shows are a precious benefit to life on this planet. It is not our right to own them.