Commend State for Banning Ownership of Dangerous Wild Animals


Target: West Virginia legislature

Goal: Commend West Virginia legislature for making the practice of owning dangerous wild animals illegal

The West Virginia legislature recently passed a bill to prohibit the private possession of dangerous wild animals. The bill creates the Dangerous Wild Animal Board. Members of the board will determine which animals to include under the new law. The bill recommends that big cats, bears, primates, venomous and constrictor snakes, and alligators should be prohibited from being privately owned.

Since 1990, there have been nearly 1,300 dangerous incidents involving big cats, bears, primates and large constrictor snakes in captivity across the United States. Over forty people have died and over 700 have been injured by these animals.

Kris Vehrs, Executive Director of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, said, “[This bill] recognizes the high standards met by zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, such as Oglebay’s Good Zoo in Wheeling. This law assures that qualified professionals are providing safe housing and humane care, especially for dangerous wild animals.”

West Virginia is one of only six states with very few laws on the keeping of dangerous wild animals. Many wild animals kept by unqualified people have escaped, injuring or killing people and causing a problem for law enforcement in tracking the loose animal down. Every state that neighbors West Virginia has stronger laws on the keeping of dangerous wild animals. It is high time for West Virginia to join their neighbors in protecting both animals and people from unqualified people owning dangerous wild animals. Commend West Virginia for finally recognizing the need for laws against privately owning dangerous animals.


Dear West Virginia legislature,

Thank you for passing a bill to keep people from owning dangerous wild animals through the West Virginia House and Senate. Now, please urge Governor Tomblin to quickly sign this bill so it can go into law. Not only will this law protect people from dangerous animal attacks, it will protect the animals from neglect and improper handling and care.

This bill is a win-win. Both the animals and the public are safer with this bill as law. Thank you for proposing and passing this bill through the House and Senate, and please urge the Governor to sign it quickly.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Dalbera via Wikimedia Commons


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  1. Craig Miller says:

    I just hope the Members include ALL animals on the list of animals prohibited!

    Thank you West Virginia!

  2. Sheila Jefferson says:

    Thank you! 🙂

  3. I would think that some exceptions might be allowed, perhaps with a certification showing that the owner has had proper training in the care and handling of such animals, and has sufficient space, from which they cannot escape, for a decent life. I might also question that all primates are “dangerous”. Then there’s the question of grandfathering. What about those well-treated animals already kept privately? (Tricky law.)

  4. I think that this is a vile and horrible thing to do to these beautiful animals, nothing should be caged up.

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