Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Clark County studies exotic animals plan

The recent escape of two chimps in a Las Vegas neighborhood is prompting Clark County Commissioners to examine Tuesday what county resources are available to deal with exotic animals.
While the county allows ownership of these animals, such as lions and tigers, it appears the means to deal with a potential escape while keeping the animals alive are lacking.
Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said the board also will discuss tightening zoning and land use procedures.
"For me, it comes down to that they are wild animals," Giunchigliani said. "Why do people need to own them? There is a role for them in the shows and zoos and so forth, but they're wild. God bless them, let them live where they're supposed to live."
Las Vegas and North Las Vegas police jointly responded when chimps Buddy and C.J. escaped from their cage last month. Las Vegas police shot and killed Buddy. C.J. was tranquilized by North Las Vegas police and survived.
Although North Las Vegas does not allow exotic animals, Sgt. Tim Bedwell said his department has equipment to tranquilize larger animals "because you never know when someone might have an animal illegally."
The equipment isn't solely for exotic animals. Police also may encounter larger beasts such as horses, cattle and mountain lions.
"We absolutely believe we need the resources to deal with those," Bedwell said. "... It gives us a tool to allow us to bring to an end a situation with a loose animal without resorting to deadly force or putting an officer in more danger than is necessary."
Bedwell said the department calls a veterinary hotline to describe the animal to determine what size dosage to administer. That's how officers "brought down the female chimp without resorting to deadly force."

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