IFAW helps pass Kansas law banning tigers as pets

Tuesday, 18 April, 2006
Yarmouth Port, MA
This week, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius signed a bill that will make Kansas a safer place and help prevent tragedies like Haley Hilderbrand’s death from occurring. The bill, S 578, will ban the ownership and possession of dangerous exotic cats - lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars and bobcats - bears and venomous snakes and IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) has lobbied vigorously for its passage.
Under the new law, exhibitors will be required to have a USDA license and will be held to state regulations including $250,000 in liability insurance and a strict no-contact policy between members of the public and these dangerous, wild animals.

“This legislation is a critical step in protecting public safety in Kansas and is a tribute to the efforts of Haley Hilderbrand's family, said IFAW campaigner Josephine Martell. “IFAW plans to use this momentum, with the support of Haley’s family, to further protect the American public and ensure the welfare of big cats across the country by campaigning for legislation at the federal level.”

In a statement released by Haley’s parents, Ronda and Mike Good said, “This legislation was not just a reaction to Haley's death, several incidents have occurred over the years in Kansas and in many other states both children and adults have been killed or seriously injured. Haley's death was just the most recent tragedy and hopefully the last in Kansas.”

Since 1999, there have been at least six major big cat incidents in Kansas including:
• In 1999, at the Safari Zoological Park a woman was severely mauled by an adult tiger after it reached through the cage and pulled her arm in
• In 1999, in Wichita, a 5 year-old child was severely mauled by a five-month-old tiger and received 20 stitches in the throat to close a near fatal wound
• In 2001, in Oskalooska, a police officer shot a privately owned, escaped tiger as it crouched to attack him
• In August 2005, Haley Hilderbrand was killed by an adult tiger while posing for her senior photos in Mound Valley.

Kansas isn’t the only state with a big cat problem. Since 1990, in the U.S. alone, big cats have killed 13 people and mauled nearly 100 others. There are an estimated 10,000 tigers kept as pets in the U.S., more than twice as many that live in the wild.

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