While watching the news last night, I saw a report about a lion in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that got loose. A woman used her cell phone to capture a video. That’s very disturbing. I’m sure it’s probably not any more disturbing as the random black bears that are seen in the community where I live. With the bears, that’s to be expected since we’re tearing down their natural habitat to build businesses and homes. The situation with the lion is an entirely different thing.
I’m sitting there watching, wondering where the lion might have come from. The Milwaukee Zoo director announced he’s accounted for all of his lions. Then I heard the strangest thing. “It’s probably just someone’s pet,” the news anchor reported. Evidently, Wisconsin doesn’t have any laws prohibiting private citizens from owning exotic animals. It is very poorly regulated in Wisconsin. I find that bizarre. According to the report I was watching, there are stricter laws regulating ownership of domestic dogs and cats than there are for wild, exotic animals. I cannot believe the law is so lax in this area. They have been working to crack down on it and create better, stronger legislation.
This got me to thinking. I was wondering how many states are like that, having limited statutes prohibiting the possession of exotic animals. I did a little research and was surprised at what I found. While most places have a full or partial ban of private ownership or possession of big cats and exotic animals, several places allow them. The good news is, most places that allow them require a license or permit issued and regulated by the local government. But several places allow unfettered possession of these animals: Nevada, Idaho, Wisconsin, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Any citizen may have dangerous, wild animals in these states. Isn’t that crazy? I don’t know what I’d do if I turned a corner and came face-to-face with that beast?
That wandering lion in Wisconsin probably does belong to someone, or maybe the owner irresponsibly released it, due to an inability to take care of it. A full grown lion can eat up to 25 pounds of meat per day. If the owner doesn’t feed it, guess what the lion is going to eat?
I presume the legislators and the governors don’t care about public safety. I’m sure they’ll tell you that do care about public safety; however, if they allow any Bozo to keep these animals, it’s clear they do not care at all.