Mississippi Exotic Animal Laws - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi Exotic Animal Laws

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

After the recent escape of 56 exotic animals from an Ohio property, more attention is being paid to wild animals possessed in Mississippi.

Debra Boswell of the Mississippi Animal Rescue League says many people are drawn to wild animals when they're young, because they're so cute, but when they grow up, they can be extremely dangerous to the owner, and anyone around them.  "For individuals to think they are safe to take them into their household and they try to keep them as pets is the ultimate in arrogance, it's a disaster waiting to happen," says Boswell.  In the event they escape, young animals can maul or even kill someone.

Boswell says Mississippi has good laws restricting the possession of exotic animals, but doesn't outlaw them like some states.   Keeping exotics and staying within the restrictions can be extremely expensive says Boswell. 

Richard Rummel is in charge of enforcing the law.  He says, "There's 100 thousand liability insurance for each animal you have vet requirements minimum caging requirements, annual fee for each animal, and proof you have experience caring for that type of animal."

In recent years the Collins Zoo has come under fire for the animals they keep.  Last year the property was raided by the Humane Society and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks, after allegations the animals there weren't being cared for properly.

After Betty White, owner of the Collins Zoo tells WLBT News that they have never been charged with any inhuman treatment of animals. All the cages have tops on them and no animals have every gotten out in the 10 years they have had the zoo. She also claims they won a lawsuit against the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in July.  The Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks says they are still in litigation with the Collins Zoo.


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