Why Tigers and Other Exotics Shouldn't Be Pets


Bengal Tiger ZanesvilleReading about the recent heartbreaking events in Zanesville, Ohio, where a unscrupulous collector of exotic pets irresponsibly released all his exotic animals and then committed suicide, everyone seems to be asking the same question: How the heck did this guy legally acquire and keep all these animals?

 The answer is quite disturbing. Believe it or not, in some states it is actually easier to keep a tiger than it is to keep a dog!

Tigers Don't Belong in a Backyard

According to CBS news, Martine Colette runs the Wildlife Waystation, a sanctuary outside Los Angeles for nearly 500 animals, including everything from chimps to alligators to tigers who were once in people's homes or backyards. "It may (seem like a) wonderful thing for an individual to have them as a pet," Colette said, "but it's a miserable life for the individual animal. It's not who it's supposed to be."

Additionally, many people are struck by how cute a baby tiger, bear or chimp may be, believing that the animal will bond to them as a parent to a child. But this is just not the case with these creatures--cuddling just isn't an option as they grow into adult animals, not to mention that their care and upkeep can easily reach the tens of thousands of dollars.

[Cute as they may be, tiger cubs DO NOT make good pets---learn why here.]

6a00d8341bf67c53ef0154364174fb970c-800wiExotic animals often end up at Wildlife Waystation when most owners inevitably realize they are not like other pets.  "It is not a dog," she said. "It will never be a dog. You can love it like you love your dog, but a tiger is a tiger, and a lion is a lion,' Colette told CBS..(read more)

Stricter Oversight Needed on Exotic Animal Trade

Stricter federal and state oversight, and zero tolerance for the procurement of wild animals is the answer according to the hundreds of animal welfare organizations weighing in on this topic. Many animal welfare organizations do agree that there are certain situations in which animals must be held in captivity for their own protection -- say, the case of a tiger raised in a backyard, never learning the skills it needs to protect itself in the wild. In those cases, however, experts agree that there should be strict oversight and accreditation, and zero tolerance for violations that jeopardize animal welfare and safety.

[VIDEO: Big cats do not belong in a backyard, they belong in the wild > See why in "A Backyard Full of Tigers]

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