Critter Alley

Critter Alley

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Exotic Infatuation

It happened again. A sixteen year old girl in Palm Springs was attacked by a pet cougar. I hasten to add that the owner had all the "proper permits", and the young man who brought the girl to see the animal did so without the owner's presence or consent. Yet it underscores a question that I ask myself every time one of these incidents occur.

Should we keep exotic animals as pets?

People are fascinated by wild animals. They're beautiful to see, amazing to touch. The novelty of owning one is compelling to many. However, that cute cuddley baby will grow up to be an animal far more powerful than any adult human being. And despite the animal's heretofore friendly personality, at any time, with any trigger, the natural instincts of a wild creature can emerge.
If that's not enough, consider the issue of living conditions for the animal. Most people can't provide the proper environment for an exotic. Can you imagine a grown tiger living in your house? Yet every day, for the right price, exotics are sold to ordinary citizens. The outcome is when the animal reaches adulthood, safety becomes a critical issue. And unless a sanctuary or zoo will take in the pet, euthanization may be necessary. Read more about the sad truth of exotics as pets here:

I suppose, then, the answer to my question is this. Exotic animals should never be considered domestic pets. Ever.


Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with you, Pat!

Pat Wahler said...

It's hard to believe that people are still allowed to sell these animals at will...a no-win situation for everyone.