A bill that would impose heavy penalties on careless exotic pet owners sailed through New York's State Assembly and Senate Thursday, dashing New Yorkers' dreams of one day raising their very own fuzzy tiger cubs into giant, self-heating, vibrating pillows.
The New York Daily News reports that exotic pet owners will now face a fine of up to $1,000 for the intentional or negligent release of an exotic animal (first time offenders would face a $500 fine, plus the costs of recapturing said exotic animal). Animal rights advocacy groups such as Born Free and the ASPCA lauded New York legislators for passing the bill, saying that, with the advent of the internet, it's become easier for prospective black mamba or lion owners to buy their National Geographic pets. The trouble is, of course, that wild and exotic animals tend to escape in dramatic, rampage fashion, mostly because they find themselves in suburban environments teeming with frightened people to maul or poison. New York's recent litany of escaped animals includes a black mamba that attacked and killed a woman in Putnam County, a Lebron James-sized boa constrictor, and two capuchin monkeys, each of which attacked people with what we can assume was terrifying, human-like rage. When deciding on what sort of pet to bring into your home, fingers, claws, and poison teeth should always be deal-breakers. Unless we're talking about ocelots — they seem small enough not to cause an unmanageable problem.