[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy
66°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 20
1954 - C-46 cargo plane crashes at Saugus Drunk Farm; Civil Air Patrol chaplains parachute to safety [story]


Legislation would stop the breeding of big cats across the United States for private gain
| Tuesday, Apr 3, 2012

Movie star Tippi Hedren (“The Birds,” “Marnie”) is still the main attraction at any event involving her Shambala Preserve in Acton despite the mane attraction of the 50 big cats she has rescued.

On Monday she was promoting nascent federal legislation – that she influenced – called the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act 2012, which would stop the breeding of big cats across the United States.

“Hopefully there will be a law that says this is illegal to breed a serial killer and having it live in your back yard. And I am calling them serial killers, because that’s what they are,” said Hedren.

Since 1983 Shambala has been home to big cats, providing a lifelong sanctuary to lions, tigers, black and spotted leopards among other cats. She says the more than 50 big cats she has now have instincts that can never be changed.

“I love them more than my next breath, but they belong out in the wild doing what they’re supposed to do,” said Hedren.

However, instead of wild animals being kept in proper facilities like zoos and sanctuaries there are untold numbers of private owners with wild animals.

“We have no idea how many of these animals are existing in the United States,” Hedren said.

Hedren, her golden mane the rival of any of her animals, took the stage with U.S. Representatives Loretta Sanchez and Howard “Buck” McKeon and , who are sponsoring the bill.

Specifically the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act 2012,” will ensure that lions, tigers and other dangerous big cats, which are bred to be sold and kept as pets or for financial gain in the U.S., do not threaten public safety, diminish global big cat conservation efforts, or end up living in horrible conditions where they can be subject to mistreatment and cruelty.

“Those who currently have big cats will be grandfathered in the sense that they can still have them as long as they have the correct place to have them. They can no longer breed them. And they must be registered so we know where these big cats are,” said Sanchez.

The bill will require all persons who currently possess big cats to register those animals with the United States Department of Agriculture. Hedren sees this as a major problem with the bill.

“There are over seven thousand facilities that the USDA has to check over with 105 investigators. It’s going to be extremely difficult,” said Hedren.

Although Hedren is used to the spotlight, she shared the stage with a former police officer who had a dramatic tale to tell about the threat big cats and other exotic animals pose to public safety.

Tim Harrison is the Director of Outreach for Animals whose mission is to train police officers, fire fighters and paramedics the proper behavior around wildlife. He is also the subject of an award-winning documentary The Elephant in the Living Room.

“I’ve taught police officers, fire personnel from all over the United States and there’s no training or course for any police or fire academy in the United States of America for any police officer or any public servant to handle any big cats,” said Harrison.

Harrison (visible on the right side of the DVD box) emphasized the lack of federal regulation regarding the breeding and ownership of dangerous animals. Across the country he said big cats can be bought at auctions, flea markets, through private dealers, through classified ads and off the internet.

“You can buy a tiger, but you can’t buy common sense,” said Harrison.

Harrison also gave a first-hand account of the horrifying results when wild animals get loose.

In October 2011, a menagerie of animals was set loose by their owner Terry Thompson in Zanesville, Ohio. Among the 56 animals he owned two wolves, six black bears, two grizzly bears, nine male lions, eight lionesses, one baboon, three mountain lions, and 18 Bengal tigers.

From left: Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, Tippi Hedren, Shambala Preserve Director Chris Gallucci.

“He decided to let all the cats and all the animals out. Turn them loose. And when he turned the animals loose he cut all the fencing in all the cages. So the animals couldn’t be put back in,” said Harrison.

Harrison, who says he arrived on the scene at Zanesville two and a half hours after the initial shootings began, says first responders are not trained to handle a situation reminiscent of the movie “Jumani”. To add to the danger, Harrison says Thompson set up a booby trap.

“He did something very bizarre. He covered himself in chicken. De-thawed chicken. Put it all over his body and shot himself in the head. With this situation, he set up a situation where the animals would be feeding off him,” said Harrison.

Now the cats were put in a position of having to protect their food source against police and fire fighters. Without dart guns at their disposal, first responders had to take down 49 of the animals with deadly force.

Harrison says he’s grateful there is a public safety component to the bill.

“It’s always the cops, firemen, and animal control that show up first. And ain’t nobody knows how to handle these things or are trained to do it,” said Harrison.

To see national news coverage of the Zanesville, Ohio tragedy (warning for disturbing images), click here.

Harrison says he learned from a USDA officer in Ohio that she’s responsible for monitoring 700 big cats out of 2,000 in the state. The threat of strict legislation has made many owners go underground creating a greater mystery as to how many big cats and exotic animals are out there.

Congresswoman Sanchez believes legislation is imperative.

“On the face of it this legislation seems to be what we call a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t you do that?” said Sanchez.

Sanchez and Hedren agree that while California is in the forefront on the issue, this is a problem across the nation.

For a look at how California stacks up against other laws governing the private position of exotic animals, click here.

According to Sanchez the outlook for the Bit Cats and Public Safety Protection Act of 2012 will depend, like all bills, on financing.

“There is always a corresponding cost to any new laws,” Sanchez said.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
Loading...
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017
City Eyeing Alternative to Lyons Extension
On the heels of releasing its draft environmental impact report (EIR) for the Lyons Avenue and Dockweiler Drive extension, the city of Santa Clarita is setting its sights on an alternative that would leave Lyons Avenue alone and filter traffic to Railroad Avenue via 13th Street.
Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017
Santa Clarita Man Suspected of Child Pornography Pleads No Contest
Child pornography resulted in a six-month jail sentence for a Santa Clarita man Monday, officials said.
Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017
Becerra Files Brief Opposing Muslim Travel Ban
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with 17 States, today filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court opposing the Trump Administration’s effort to impose a travel ban on people from six predominantly Muslim countries. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the case on October 10.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1954 - C-46 cargo plane crashes at Saugus Drunk Farm; Civil Air Patrol chaplains parachute to safety [story]
On the heels of releasing its draft environmental impact report (EIR) for the Lyons Avenue and Dockweiler Drive extension, the city of Santa Clarita is setting its sights on an alternative that would leave Lyons Avenue alone and filter traffic to Railroad Avenue via 13th Street.
City Eyeing Alternative to Lyons Extension
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger is hosting the inaugural Santa Clarita Valley Transportation Summit.
Sept. 21: Santa Clarita Valley Transportation Summit
Preview of Santa Clarita arts-related events for Sept. 18-24.
Sept. 18-24: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson strongly encourages sixteen- and seventeen-year-old students to pre-register to vote with the beginning of High School Voter Education Weeks from September 18–29.
Sept. 18-29: High School Voter Education Weeks
No. 20 College of the Canyons will host No. 11 Long Beach City College at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, at Cougar Stadium.
Sept. 23: Cougars Football Hosts Long Beach City College
College of the Canyons hosted its annual Western State Conference (WSC) tournament a on Monday, coming away with a second place finish behind conference leader Santa Barbara City College at El Cariso Golf Course in Sylmar.
Cougars Golf Takes Second Place at COC Annual Tournament
A potential water rate hike prompted Santa Clarita Water Division officials to call for a public meeting Tuesday evening for its Budget and Rates Committee.
SCWD to Discuss Possible Water Rate Hike at Public Meeting
California State University, Northridge art history professor and archeologist Owen Doonan was honored earlier this year by the Explorers Club — an international multidisciplinary professional society that helps advance field research and preserve exploration — for his international excavations in Turkey and a related exhibition, “Stone Sounds: Echoes from 4000 Years at Sinop Kale.”
CSUN Professor Honored by Explorer’s Club
The California State University has selected 23 students, one from each campus, to receive the 2017 CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.
CSUN Mechanical Engineering Student One of 23 Recognized by CSU
A group of Newhall School District parents upset the elementary school calendar doesn’t match up to the high school one plan to attend this week’s board meeting, continuing a “walk-out” threat.
NSD Parents Upset Over School’s Calendar; Threaten Walk-Out
Six Flags Magic Mountain's biggest season of Fright Fest, presented by Snickers, reopened Saturday.
Magic Mountain Fright Fest Back, Bigger Than Ever
Child pornography resulted in a six-month jail sentence for a Santa Clarita man Monday, officials said.
Santa Clarita Man Suspected of Child Pornography Pleads No Contest
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with 17 States, today filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court opposing the Trump Administration’s effort to impose a travel ban on people from six predominantly Muslim countries. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the case on October 10.
Becerra Files Brief Opposing Muslim Travel Ban
California Credit Union is inviting all Los Angeles County teachers who have a great class project idea to apply for a credit union grant through its bi-annual Teacher Grant Program.
CCU’s Fall Teacher Grant Applications Underway
California's housing market defied gravity as existing home sales and median home price registered increases on both a monthly and an annual basis in August, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said Monday.
State Sees Increase in Housing Market
1863 - Gen. Edward F. Beale loans money to A.A. Hudson and Oliver P. Robbins to erect toll house in Newhall Pass [story]
California State University, Northridge students and faculty have joined forces with Bet Tzedek to expand legal aid for undocumented parents of CSUN students.
CSUN, Bet Tzedek Expand Legal Aid for Students’ Undocumented Parents
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, the family of a missing 16 year old Hart High student is asking the community for help in locating him. Plus, dust off your resumes: COC is hosting its Fall semester Job & Career Fair soon. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Monday, September 18, 2017
The Governing Board of the Saugus Union School District is extending the deadline to apply for the 7-11 Advisory Committee through Thursday, September 21 at 4 p.m.
Saugus School District Extends Deadline to Apply for Surplus Committee
After letting an early two-set lead slip away, the TMU Mustangs volleyball team rallied from behind to secure a 3-2 win over the San Diego Christian Hawks Saturday night.
Mustangs Volleyball Team Rallies to Beat San Diego Christian 3-2
The Master's University and Bethesda University battled 110 minutes to a scoreless draw in double-overtime Saturday afternoon on Reese Field.
TMU, Bethesda Men’s Soccer Teams Battle to 0-0 Draw in Double Overtime
The TMU Mustangs men's and women's cross-country teams raced in the open division of UC Riverside’s event Saturday.
TMU Cross Country Impresses at UC Riverside Invitational
The TMU Mustangs volleyball team rallied to win sets four and five against Arizona Christian Friday, taking the match 3-2 on Bross Court.
TMU Volleyball Edges Arizona Christian 3-2
The Gentle Barn is celebrating its 18th year of spreading compassion and hope for animals around the world from its current locations in Santa Clarita, California, Knoxville, Tennessee and the newest animal sanctuary set to open September 24 near St. Louis.
Gentle Barn Animal Rescue Sanctuary Turns 18
“Wildwood Canyon: The Resilience of Nature,” a photography exhibit by artist Kristina Jacob, will be on display at the Jo Anne Darcy Library in Canyon Country from September 26 through January 24.
Sept. 26: Wildwood Canyon Photo Exhibit at Darcy Library
October is National Arts and Humanities Month and to celebrate the city of Santa Clarita will host ARTober during the month.
October is ‘Artober’ in Santa Clarita
College of the Canyons will host the one-day conference, “It’s Still Happening Right Here! Human Trafficking,” on Friday, Sept. 22 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Sept. 22: COC Hosts Human Trafficking Conference
College of the Canyons hosted the 2017 California Community College Athletic Association Southern California Preview on Friday, attracting a field of more than 500 cross-country runners to the course at Central Park in Santa Clarita.
Canyons Women Take Second at CCCAA SoCal Preview
The Dodgers enter the final leg of their 10-game road trip (4-2) tonight with the first of four against the Philadelphia Phillies, with Clayton Kershaw on the mound.
Dodgers and Kershaw Open 4-Game Stand in Philadelphia
Family members report they have found Elias Ortiz, a 16-year-old Newhall resident who had been missing since Saturday night.
Newhall Teen Missing Since Saturday Found
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that six of 27 national monuments under review by the Trump administration be reduced in size, with changes to several others proposed, but the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is not on Zinke's shrink list.
San Gabriel National Monument Not on Interior Secretary’s Shrink List
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce will move from its present location at City Hall to new office space at 28494 Westinghouse Place, Suite 114, Valencia 91355, on October 12.
October 12: SCV Chamber Moves to New Office
The Modesto Nuts pulled away late and swept the California League Championship Series with an 8-1 victory over the JetHawks in Game 3 on Friday night at John Thurman Field, ending the season for the Lancaster team.
JetHawks Swept in CLCS to End 2017 Season