Exotic Pets: A Complicated Topic
From staff reports
The alligator in the cage can't turn around. It's getting bigger and bigger and its nose is pushing against the glass. The shark has no room to swim. It swims in tiny circles. It hits the glass, startled. There is a fading blue light as you walk into this exotic pet shop. There are plenty of pets, screaming. As the staff welcomes you, you look around at the depressed animals. You're probably thinking that taking animals out of their natural habitats to be pets is bad. But the truth is, it's a really complicated topic.
Why do people take animals out of their natural habitat? “Because we must study them to make sure that in the future if they go close to extinction, we can breed them,” says Jim Paintaiff, an exotic pet specialis and co-owner of WNC Aquarium & Imports (2639 Hendersonville Road, Arden (828) 654-9938). Also, he says, you might be saving an animal’s life, maybe they are losing food or habitat . Most people want these pets for their unusual qualities. But, exotic pets can be hard to handle and there are also many more bad things about them, too. According to the website of Born Free U.S.A., a non-profit group that works to pass laws against keeping exotic pets, exotic animals can carry diseases like Herpes B, monkeypox, and salmonella. Most animals from the other parts of the world are not used to the climate here. Also, you must have alot of time to care for them because they need lots of attention and care to survive here.
According to an article in the Asheville Citizen Times, (May 2, 2010) Monica Engebretson, from Born Free U.S.A. said,“North Carolina has relatively few regulations on exotic animals although counties can pass ordinances restricting them.” This means you need a lot of support to pass ordinances to restrict ownership of certain exotic pets. In 2004, a North Carolina boy was mauled by his aunt's Bengal tiger and killed. Wilkes and Surry counties then passed a law saying you can't have "non-domestic wildlife such as bears, wolves, tigers, other wild cats, non human primates, dangerous reptiles, and other non-traditional 'exotic' animals." Here in Asheville, according to Brenda Sears, Asheville Animal Services Supervisor,an Asheville postman called Animal Control and said, "We have a box down here that's moving." ----- said, "When we carefully opened the box, sure enough, there was an American Alligator." Having an American Alligator is extremely illegal. According to Sears, people in Asheville can have some exotic animals like pot belly pigs, if they have a permit. To check on what animals you can have and if you need a permit you can call Animal Control, 259-5872.
Another way that Animal Control Services of Asheville can help is if an exotic animal is reported and it doesn't have a permit. First, they would catch the animal (if it's loose), then they would send it to a shelter. The shelter would send it to a zoo or the Western North Carolina Nature Center. People can sponsor the animal by giving money to buy it food at the Nature Center. People can also volunteer with the Western North Carolina Nature Center or a rescue group, like Carolina Tiger Rescue, which rescues wild cats.
The issue of exotic pets is complicated, you must know alot to take care of an exotic pet. One of our group members owns an exotic pet, but she knows so much about it that she can keep it alive. Another obstacle to solving the problem of exotic pets is that people just want to own exotic pets. We need to raise awareness about the problems using methods like this feature story.But, it's simple, all you have to do is help and the alligator will be able to turn around. The shark will be free. All the exotic animals from around the world will be free to live a life of peace and happiness.
Some Helpful Links
Here's another link to a local exotic pet shop that has a different point of view from Born Free USA.
Exotic Pets USA