ACTION ALERT: Backyard Tigers – Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R. 4122)

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HR 4122 would avert unnecessary human suffering from deaths and injuries from these inherently dangerous animals, stop the illegal trade in captive animal parts that encourages poaching of the wild population, and end the widespread misery these majestic animals endure in private hands when exploited for exhibition or inappropriately kept as pets. This bill is supported by Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Big Cat Rescue, Born Free USA, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS, Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), ROAR Foundation and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Published on 12 Sep 2012 by 

The cute tiger cubs you see at fairs, malls and parking lots will spend their entire lives in tiny cages or will be killed for their body parts to use in traditional asian medicine. It is estimated that there are 10,000 to 20,000 big cats currently held in private ownership in the U.S., although the exact number remains a mystery… 

Since 1990, U.S. incidents involving captive big cats—including tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs and lion/tiger hybrids—have resulted in the deaths of 21 humans, 247 maulings, 259 escapes, 143 big cats deaths and 132 confiscations.

TAKE ACTION NOW! Help put an end to the abuse of big cats and help ensure the safety of the public …. This is the most important bill to ever be introduced to protect big cats. Please click the link and contact your state representatives letting them know that you support H.R.4122 –http://bigcatrescue.org/2012/big-cats-and-public-safety-protection-hr-4122

Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act HR 4122

On February 29, 2012, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) introduced H.R. 4122, to prohibit the private possession and breeding of big cats. The bill will insure that lions, tigers and other dangerous big cats — which are kept as pets and exploited in roadside zoos and traveling exhibits — do not threaten public safety, diminish the global big cat conservation efforts, or end up living in deplorable conditions where they can be subject to mistreatment and cruelty. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) announced on the same day plans to introduce a companion bill in the Senate within the next few weeks.

The debate over private ownership of big cats garnered national attention last October when the owner of a backyard menagerie in Zanesville, Ohio, opened the cages of his tigers, leopards, lions, wolves, bears and monkeys before committing suicide. Local police, who were neither trained nor properly equipped to deal with a situation of that magnitude, were forced to shoot and kill nearly 50 animals—38 of them big cats—before they could enter populated areas.

The bill would make it illegal to possess any big cat except at accredited zoos and wildlife sanctuaries where they can be properly cared for and sheltered, and would only allow breeding at accredited zoos, along with some research or educational institutions. Current owners would be allowed to keep the cats they currently have provided they register their cats with USDA to keep them from being slaughtered to sell their parts (see below), but they would not be allowed to acquire or breed more. Violators of the law could have their animals confiscated along with any vehicles or equipment used to aid in their activity, and could face stiff penalties including fines up to $20,000 and up to five years in jail.

WEBSITE: http://www.bigcatrescue.org
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/bigcatrescue
GOOGLE+https://plus.google.com/115333849859181638977/posts
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue
DONATE: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/donate.htm
BIG CAT SHOP: http://www.bigcatrescue.biz/servlet/StoreFront

THANK YOU!

Special thanks to http://incompetech.com for the music tracks used in this video 🙂

Take Action:-http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=61054081

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/bills/?bill=61054001&alertid=61054081

Petition:http://www.thepetitionsite.com/615/569/128/hr-4122-the-big-cats-and-public-safety-protection-act-of-2012-tippi-hedren/

IFAW– 6 questions about the U.S. Big Cats and the Public Safety Protection Act:-http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/news/6-questions-about-us-big-cats-and-public-safety-protection-act

Born Free USAhttp://www.bornfreeusa.org/legislation.php?p=3179&more=1

HSUS:-http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2012/05/congress_urged_to_pass_big_cats_act_051812.html

PETA:-http://www.peta.org/action/action-alerts/Ask-Your-Representative-to-Co-Sponsor-the-Big-Cats-and-Public-Safety-Protection-Act-.aspx

 

Man gets maximum term for slitting dog’s throat

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ZANESVILLE — Justin C. Smith said he slit a dog‘s throat with a box cutter because he wanted his girlfriend out of his house.

“He was dispatched with honor,” Smith, 32, told Zanesville Municipal Court Judge William Joseph on Tuesday morning. “She brought a diseased, mangy, flea-ridden dog into the house and wanted me to spend my money on it. She bamboozled me.”

Zanesville police officers were dispatched in late June to Smith’s Luck Avenue home and found his girlfriend covered in blood, screaming and crying over the almost lifeless body of 20-pound Midnight, a mixed-breed dog, according to police reports.

The woman told officers Smith had cut the dog’s throat, and Smith admitted to officers he had done it to “get her attention.”

Joseph sentenced Smith to serve 180 days in jail and fined him $1,000 on a charge of cruelty to a companion animal and 60 days in jail and a $500 fine on a resisting arrest charge. The jail terms are to be served consecutively.

Smith scuffled with officers as they tried to arrest him, police said.

Smith, who has been in the Zanesville City Jail since his arrest, told Joseph he needed to get out of jail to pay his rent, bills, water and electricity.

“I want to get out of here,” Smith said.

Joseph gave Smith a chance to explain why he killed the dog after Smith pleaded no contest to both charges.

Smith said he was living with a “drug-addicted” woman who brought drugs and alcohol into his home and then a “discarded dog.”

“It was the only way I could get her to leave my home,” Smith said. “I could think of no other way. I guess I have some regret, but since the woman is out of my house, or at least I hope she is, that was my intent.”

Assistant City Prosecutor Emily Tarbert told Joseph she had received hundreds of emails, phone calls and letters from not just local residents, but also from around the world wanting Smith to get the maximum sentence for the death of the dog.

“He’s one of the worst offenders,” Tarbert said. “He didn’t dispatch the dog with honor. He murdered it. That was a great dishonor. He also had the murder weapon in his pocket when officers arrived.”

Smith argued with Tarbert and told her the dog was “unregistered and unlicensed” and that he told officers where the knife was when they arrived.

“Besides, no animal has rights over a human,” Smith said.

Joseph cut Smith off and told him there was no debate — the dog wasn’t asserting any sort of “right” over Smith. He said if Smith had wanted the woman out of his house, he should have called the police to evict her then taken the dog to the Humane Society.

“I don’t even know what you mean when you say the dog was dispatched with honor,” Joseph said.

Then, Smith told Joseph he has a head injury that doesn’t allow him to make sound decisions and that generally he is a “peaceful man.”

Joseph shook his head and said that was no justification and no animal deserved to be treated that way.

“Slitting a defenseless dog’s throat makes no sense to me,” Joseph said. “To top that off, the conduct towards the police after they get there is not good. Your actions speak louder than your words. Those weren’t peaceful actions. Not that day.”

A small group of protesters gathered outside the courtroom. They represented Nitro’s Ohio Army, Ohio residents who advocate the passage of House Bill 108, which would make animal cruelty charges felonies and not misdemeanors.

Cris Hughes, who is on the board for WHINNY Horse Rescue in Crooksville, said she is satisfied that Smith got the maximum sentence.

“Animals deserve better,” Hughes said. “Children, animals and elderly are always the ones who get abused. They’re the ones that can’t defend themselves.”

Tina Stanton, of Nashport, also was there to support the Nitro bill and to see that Smith got a stiff sentence.

“I was so disgusted when I heard what happened,” Stanton said.

News Link:http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/article/20120711/NEWS01/207110305

Neighbors voice concerns about former Thompson farm caretaker’s lions

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When John Moore, former caretaker for Terry and Marian Thompson, moved two lion cubs to a property in Fairfield County, he knew one thing: The neighborhood would be watching.

His move to the 13700 block of Queen Road already has prompted a visit from the Fairfield County Humane Society officer and Fairfield County Sheriff’s deputies on Monday.

Nice while babies!

“We have no problem with them coming here,” Moore Tuesday said as he tussled with his two cats in their cage in the back of his home. “The humane officer said the girls look very well-fed and in good shape. They should. They eat about 10 to 12 pounds of raw chicken, beef or turkey a day. There is nothing illegal about me having them here.”

Ciaran Dern, an area resident, is concerned about the possible outcomes if children in the area got too close to the animals.

“I think it is cool that they are there, as long as what happened at Zanesville doesn’t happen here,” Dern said. “I can’t understand why anyone would want to have cubs like that. Why wouldn’t they give them to a zoo?” resident Matt Schmidt said. “All I can think about is what happened at Zanesville.”

Moore said he is perfectly capable of taking care of exotic animals after helping the Thompsons as caretaker for the past 15 years. Moore recently quit that position. Moore said he knows the lions are wild animals, but they’re not vicious or man-eaters. “Could this be an accident waiting to happen, they are wild animals with wild instincts, they might well be playful things now, but what about when their mature?”

While Moore has trained the cats to walk on leashes, they are not allowed to be walked in Fairfield County. Moore said responsible and loving exotic animal owners don’t do anything that would jeopardize the well-being or welfare of their animals!  “If you loved a wild animal that much, surely you would want to see it roaming round a large sanctuary, not a cage?”

Read the rest of this post & watch the video:http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/article/20120606/NEWS01/206060304

Exotic-animal control law signed – Ohioans barred from purchases starting in 2014

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COLUMBUS — Nearly eight months after making international news when lions, leopards, tigers, and other wild animals were set loose on the Zanesville countryside, Ohio has its first law restricting ownership of such creatures.

Private acquisition or transfer of animals such as this tiger at Stump Hill Farm in Massillon, Ohio, would be prohibited under the law. Current owners may keep animals if they comply with new rules.

Gov. John Kasich signed a law Tuesday that would, beginning in 2014, bar individuals from acquiring or transferring ownership of wild animals including bears, big cats, crocodiles, elephants, and most apes. Current owners could keep their animals if they acquire state permits and comply with new rules on caging, insurance, and other restrictions.

The law allows but restricts acquisition, ownership, and breeding of constricting snakes longer than 12 feet, including anacondas and pythons, as well as certain poisonous snakes.

In the meantime, owners of such animals would have to register them with the state within 60 days of the law’s effective date. The law will take effect in 90 days.

“Those 38 hours, I’ll never forget. I dream about it … ” Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, said of that night in Zanesville as law enforcement shot the animals to protect the public.

“This wasn’t just the state of Ohio — everyone,” he said. “It wasn’t just the United States. This is the world watching. What you’re setting here is precedent for those states that have no laws as well. God forbid that anything would ever happen in those states.”

Opponents of the law have argued that it goes too far, punishing responsible animal owners because of the misdeeds of a few and trampling on individual property rights.

Read more:-http://www.toledoblade.com/State/2012/06/05/Kasich-to-sign-new-rules-for-exotic-animal-owners-into-law.html

Cyndi Huntsman, owner and president of Stump Hill Farm in Massillon, said the law will put the nonprofit organization — with some 300 lions, camels, tigers, birds, bears, reptiles, and other animals — out of business. She is accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture but not the two zoological associations that can lead to exemptions under the law.

Horses escape from Zanesville-area exotic animal farm

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“Lets just hope the animals returned this farm are in cages that they can’t escape from…horses is one thing…a leopard loose is another!”

ZANESVILLE

 A sheriff says his office is investigating after horses repeatedly escaped from the Ohio farm where dozens of exotic animals were released by their suicidal owner and later killed by authorities last fall.

Two surviving leopards, two primates and a bear were returned to the owner’s widow and the farm near Zanesville this month. That left some people concerned because nothing in Ohio law allows state officials to check on the animals’ welfare.

Last week, horses were reported outside the farm three days in a row. Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz tells WBNS-TVhe’s concerned because horses on roadways could cause crashes. He says his office is monitoring the situation but isn’t using it as a roundabout way to check on the exotic animals at the farm.

 News Link:http://www.cantonrep.com/newsnow/x358790276/Horses-escape-from-Zanesville-area-exotic-animal-farm

 

Ohio wild animal stampede ignites vast law review

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Of all the beasts set free by the suicidal owner of an exotic animal farm in Ohio last year, few were as scary or as lethal as the big cats.

Tigers, leopards and lions — more than two dozen — were loose before being hunted by sheriff’s deputies.

While the slaughter was chilling, it was truly panic-inducing that an unstable owner had accumulated such a collection of dangerous animals.

Yet, by some estimates, there are thousands of tigers in captivity in American backyards — more than there are in the wild on the planet.

No one knows the number for certain because there’s only scattered regulation for such pets. In fact, it’s easier in some states to buy a tiger or lion from a breeder than it is to adopt a kitten from a shelter.

That’s likely to change after the Zanesville stampede drew the attention of lawmakers around the country.

Legislation has been proposed in Congress that would ban private ownership of exotic cats. Ohio and other states are also looking to outlaw the animals or to keep them more tightly controlled.

One leader of the cat fight is actress and animal activist Tippi Hedren, best known for being terrorized by crows in Alfred Hitchcock‘s “The Birds.”

Hedren has devoted much of her life to rescuing big cats at her Shambala Preserve north of Los Angeles, home to 53 seized or abandoned exotic cats, and she doesn’t think they make good pets.

“It is the job of the predator to take out any old, sick or lame animal. What quality there makes for a good pet?” she asked. “If you get near its food, it will kill you.”

The Zanesville animals may have forced the issue into the open, but it certainly isn’t the first tragedy involving private cats.

Since 1990, 21 people, including five children, have been killed and 246 mauled, according to Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla. Over that period, 254 cats have escaped and 143 have been killed.

There have been other federal laws proposed over the years, but most have failed.

Read the rest of the story: http://www.seattlepi.com/living/article/Ohio-wild-animal-stampede-ignites-vast-law-review-3523235.php#ixzz1tk5VYR8T

Ohio to return wild animals to family that allowed panic escape

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“Talk about another accident waiting to happen…are they crazy??”

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) – Five wild animals will soon be returned to the widow of a man who released them into the Ohio countryside last year, state officials said on Monday, raising concerns of a repeat of the panic that gripped the state when dozens of beasts including lions, tigers and bears roamed free. 

Seven months after Terry Thompson released 56 exotic animals near Zanesville, Ohio, and then committed suicide, the Ohio legislature still is struggling to draft regulations on wild animal ownership. Ohio is one of only a handful of states with no restrictions on exotic animal ownership.

The state Agriculture Department said on Monday it had no legal way to prevent the five remaining animals – a spotted leopard, a black leopard, two Celebes Macaquemonkeys and a brown bear – from being given back to Thompson’s widow, Marilyn.

She has said she will take them back to the farm and put them in the cages they fled last October.

“This raises concerns, as she has indicated the cages have not been repaired, and has repeatedly refused to allow animal welfare experts to evaluate if conditions are safe for the animals and sufficient to prevent them from escaping and endangering the community,” the Agriculture Department said.

The agency said the only hope of preventing their return to the Thompson family within 24 hours from the Columbus Zoo is for the county Humane Society to seek a court order to inspect the farm.

“Until then we can only hope that local officials choose to act to prevent another tragedy,” the Agriculture Department said.

The local Humane Society could not immediately be reached for comment.

After Thompson, who had been charged with animal cruelty 11 times since 2004, released the lions, tigers and other wild animals last October, law enforcement officials had to go on a big game hunt. Authorities warned residents to stay inside while they killed 49 of the 56 animals.

Six were captured and sent to the Columbus Zoo but one spotted leopard later died there. Another animal was presumed eaten by others and was never accounted for.

The surviving animals have been held at the Columbus Zoo.

The state Senate passed a bill last week that would ban Ohio residents from buying lions, tigers, bears,elephants, wolves, alligators, crocodiles, and certain kinds of monkeys as pets, unless they follow strict guidelines.

Existing owners of wild animals can keep them if they follow the new rules, which include permit fees, registration and constructing proper facilities. The Ohio House may not vote on the measure until the end of May.

News Link:- http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-30/news/sns-rt-us-usa-animals-ohiobre83t0wx-20120430_1_wild-animals-animal-cruelty-ohio-house

 

Leopard crushed at zoo, euthanized | The Columbus Dispatch

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One of the surviving exotic animals from Terry Thompson’s Zanesville farm has died, crushed by a gate at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

The leopard was one of six animals owned by Thompson that the zoo has been housing since October under a quarantine order by the Department of Agriculture. Leopard killed in accident at Zoo

Zoo spokeswoman Patty Peters said a zookeeper was preparing to feed the leopard and clean its cage when the incident occurred. The keeper moved the animal into a neighboring enclosure and pulled the lever that lowers the gate between the two enclosures. As the gate went down, the leopard darted beneath it and was struck on its neck.

The animal’s heart stopped, but the zookeeper restarted it with chest compressions. An examination determined that the leopard’s spinal cord was injured, and state veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey made the decision to euthanize the animal.

via Leopard crushed at zoo, euthanized | The Columbus Dispatch.

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