Sunday, December 21, 2014

Forum to highlight dangers of big cat possession

The International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Pennsylvania SPCA are hosting a public event beginning at 11:30 a.m. today to highlight the issue of exotic cats in captivity.

Forum to highlight dangers of big cat possession

The International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Pennsylvania SPCA are hosting a public event beginning at 11:30 a.m. today to highlight the issue of exotic cats in captivity.

The IFAW is leading a campaign to pass a federal ban on the breeding and ownership of big cats following the 2011 tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio when first responders were forced to kill 50 large wild animals let loose by their mentally ill owner, fearing they might harm the public.

The event is one in a series of national rally calls to first responders who often find themselves at the forefront of dealing with the dangers that tigers, lions and other big cats pose when kept in backyards across America.

The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (HR 1998/S1381), would establish a single policy that prohibits breeding and private possession of big cats.

In Pennsylvania, exotic pet owners are required to hold a permit, despite that there have been incidents involving legal - and illegally held animals -  among them:

May 9, 1997, Pittsburgh: A circus tiger mauled and killed its trainer as a crowd of children watched in horror. An emergency counseling service was set up for almost 300 people, more than half of them children, who witnessed the attack.

May 4, 2007, Chanceford Township: An 8-year-old female mountain lion was on the loose for more than a day after being released from its cage. Authorities reported that someone other than the owner had removed the lock and released the lion from the cage.

August 12, 2011, Halifax: A wildlife park employee was injured by a Bengal tiger after being attacked. The woman required reconstructive surgery.

New Jersey bans private ownership of big cats. Legislation to do the same in Pennsylvania has been introduced in each of the last several sessions but has failed to become law. My story from 2011 here.

The panel includes Tracy Coppola, Campaigns officer for the IFAW, Jerry Buckley, ceo of the PSPCA, Tim Harrison, instructor for Distaster Relief and Emergency Response, Texas A&M, Lori Albright, RedPaw Emergency Relief Team,,George Bengal, director of humane law enforcement, PSPCA.

The event will be held at the Pennsylvania SPCA headquarters at 350 E. Erie Ave. Philadelphia.

 

 

 

 


 

 

BIG CATS IN PENNSYLVANIA

May 9, 1997, Pittsburgh: A circus tiger mauled and killed its trainer as a crowd of children watched in horror. An emergency counseling service was set up for almost 300 people, more than half of them children, who witnessed the attack.

 

May 4, 2007, Chanceford Township:  An 8-year-old female mountain lion was on the loose for more than a day after being released from its cage.  Authorities reported that someone other than the owner had removed the lock and released the lion from the cage. 

 

August 12, 2011, Halifax: A wildlife park employee was injured by a Bengal tiger after being attacked.  The woman required reconstructive surgery.

Amy Worden Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog

Amy Worden Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected