Urge State to Pass Exotic Animal Protection Law

11-24-13 West Virginia exotic animal law pic

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. This really is a no-brainer! The majority of people keeping exotic animals are not taking proper care of them. Please ban the ownership of them.

  2. Everyone is so worried about exotics being banned but it wasn’t my retics or monitors who bit my cousin in the face and caused major trauma that was a dog house cats have cassed more animals to go extinct then any other animal this is all bull crap I’m not hurting anyone neither are my animals and I will not except this bill weather it passes or not there will always be a way to legally bypass this bull crap me and my lawyer will have a field day with anyone one trys to take or charge me for keeping such animals cencerly a reptile owner with to much money and time.

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