Our Compass

BACKGROUND

In October 2011, sheriff’s deputies armed with assault rifles opened fire on dozens of “mature, very big, aggressive” lions, tigers, cheetahs, and other animals in Zanesville, Ohio, after the owner—who opened cage doors and left fences unsecured before killing himself—allowed the animals to escape. The tragedy in Zanesville is far from an isolated incident. Incidents involving big cats in the United States have resulted in more than 235 human injuries and the deaths of more than 85 cats and more than 20 people. According to news reports, in June 2013, an Indiana woman shot and killed a leopard who was roaming in her backyard. Fortunately, U.S. Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., has reintroduced the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R. 1998), a bill that would mean unparalleled improvements for big cats who are kept as “pets” in the United States.

Today, there are no federal regulations mandating minimum standards of care…

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