Urge State to Pass Exotic Animal Protection Law

Target: West Virginia Governor Ray Tomblin

Goal: Ban the private ownership of exotic animals

West Virginia lawmakers are currently considering passing laws to ban people from owning exotic animals. It is one of only five states in America to not have any law regarding exotic animals as pets. However, this does not mean there aren’t any exotic animals in the state—there was a lion, a number of alligators, and water buffalo that all escaped their owners. As protection for the animals, who are often shot when they escape, and for people who can be injured by dangerous creatures, urge West Virginia Governor Ray Tomblin to pass an exotic animal law.

Governor Tomblin nearly passed a law banning the private possession of dangerous animals but didn’t, citing a high number of expenses. Frankly, this issue should be about the safety of exotic animals and humans, not money. According to the Humane Society of the United States, 650 injuries and 40 deaths have occurred since 1990 due to dangerous animals living in captivity and escaping. Additionally, when a group of exotic animals escaped in Ohio in 2011 it resulted in 49 animals being killed. All of these deaths and injuries are easily preventable by passing the law to ban ownership of animals too dangerous to be kept captive.

Having no laws about exotic creatures up to this point means the state of West Virginia currently has no idea how many of these animals are in the state, let alone the rate of breeding and buying occurring. This also means there is no way to ensure these animals are being cared for properly, since the state has no legal jurisdiction to rely upon.

The time has come: Governor Ray Tomblin needs to pass a law banning the private ownership of exotic animals in West Virginia. It is simply in everyone’s best interest. It provides further safety for people, whether they own the animals or encounter an escaped one. It also protects these animals from living in cages and potential mistreatment. They are wild animals who were never meant to be kept locked up. Let’s try our best to keep it that way.


Dear Governor Tomblin,

I recently learned you are considering passing a law banning the private ownership of exotic animals within the state of West Virginia. Please pass this piece of legislation to ensure the safety of humans and these animals.

Since 1990, 650 injuries and 40 deaths are the direct result of dangerous animals being kept as pets. Additionally, 49 animals were killed when they escaped in Ohio in 2011. All of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented had a ban on owning dangerous animals already been in place. And now, in many places there are laws in place—West Virginia is one of only five states to not have these laws.

For the safety of your residents and for the protection of these exotic animals that were never meant to live in captivity, please pass this law.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Chensiyuan via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Applaud the principal but safeguards must be incorporated in any legislation to protect those unfortunates already being kept in West Virginia. All too often the legislators forget that sanctuary needs to be found – this happened in 1976 in the UK which resulted in many exotics, mainly the big cats, being released into the wild.

  2. renee jeanine ragno says:

    The animals need the protection much more than people do. What is it with us that we do these things; things that are so horiffic, evil w/o morals, ethics, honor.

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