African servals, exotic cats as pets

Why Exotic Pets Should NOT Be Banned
What Happens When Exotic Pets are Banned
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Banning exotic pets doesn't help them - it kills them!

The seizure of beloved exotic cats causes as much heartache and terror as the seizure of a child would.

It is an atrocity to cause any well-cared-for animal to be seized from its owner

Not only are seizures permitted, they are permitted without due process. Animals can be seized before the owner is convicted of any crime.

When exotic animals are banned or over-regulated, seizure of cherished pets becomes a certainty.

Before the owner has the opportunity to present his case in court, the cat may already be dead.

The woman glanced in her rear-view mirror to see the flash of blue police lights. The officer’s eyes appraised her and her family as he wrote the citation. She continued home with little sense of foreboding.

Her family’s life was shattered soon thereafter when police officers burst through the door, ordering her to get down on the ground as they took their prisoner. She never saw him again; he was convicted without a trial. The state refused to reveal his whereabouts; execution was a strong possibility but would never be confirmed.

To this day, she does not know the prisoner’s fate; was he executed, or perhaps still alive, languishing in a cell in an unknown jail?

Sounds like a story from Nazi Germany or Saddam Hussein's Iraq, doesn't it? Only in this case the villain was not a brutal dictator, but a state law forbidding the ownership of exotic animals. The prisoner dragged off to an uncertain fate was an African Serval, the beloved pet of Vietnam veteran Deborah-Ann Milette.

"That doesn't compare," some might argue. "It's only an animal." Okay, fine. Let’s lay aside the results of decades of research proving the depth of human-animal bonds. It’s “only” an animal. Isn’t this the attitude that animal rights groups have been fighting to eliminate? How can they use the argument of animal welfare to push laws that cause such travesties of human and animal rights, then have the hypocrisy to suddenly reverse their position and say, “it’s only an animal?”

The seizure of beloved exotic cats causes as much heartache and terror as the seizure of a child would. It is an atrocity to cause any well-cared-for animal to be seized from its owner, and I find it shocking that such a thing is permissible in a supposedly free country. Not only are seizures permitted, they are permitted without due process. Animals can be seized before the owner is convicted of any crime. Before the owner has the opportunity to present his case in court, the cat may already be dead.

When exotic animals are banned or over-regulated, seizure of cherished pets becomes a certainty. Many people buy animals not knowing that they are illegal, are unable to comply with the requirements of ban laws enacted in their area, or are unaware that their pets have been banned in the years after they get them.

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© Jessi Clark-White, 2004
Why would you want to own a wild cat?