After the captive wild-animal disaster in Ohio last week, dialogue was opened on the topic of lax exotic-pet laws around the country.
Map of State Laws Courtesy of Born Free.
It is generally accepted that Ohio’s exotic-animal possession laws are the most lenient in the country.
Mississippi’s 1997 law, on the other hand, is stringent, and based on similar legislation in Florida and Tennessee.
Key features include:
- a long application form
- $100,000.00 insurance requirement
- cage requirements
- fencing requirements
Richard Rummel, exotic species program leader for the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, says, “The number one thing when the legislature passed this was public safety. The legislature also was concerned about animal welfare. If they [applicants] can meet our requirements, they can have it [an exotic animal], but our regulations are pretty stringent.”
The death of a young girl mauled by a wolf and pressure from animal rights groups led to the legislation.
After the law was passed, most of the Mississippians who housed wild animals were forced to sell or donate them because they could not afford the insurance, the housing requirements, or both.
Rummel said, “This really cut down on the number of people with these types of animals.”
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.