Archive for Wednesday, August 29, 2001

County should review exotic animal laws

August 29, 2001

Richard Provance II understandably is upset that people continue to trespass on his rural Leavenworth County property and end up at the University of Kansas Medical Center being treated for bites inflicted by Provance's exotic pets.

Provance, who lives about six miles from Tonganoxie in Leavenworth County, says his menagerie of exotic animals is like family to him.

But in recent weeks, there have been some domestic problems. On Aug. 19, one of his lions bit a 27-year-old neighbor on the arm. A week later, Yogi, Provance's 4-year-old black bear, bit a Lawrence man on his wrist.

Provance says neither biting victim had his permission to be on his property much less be near his collection of animals, which also includes two other lions and another bear.

Last week, Provance said he planned to find new homes for his pets. But now, he's changed his mind. He plans to build a perimeter fence to make it harder for unwanted visitors to come calling.

That's a good step. It's curious, though, why Provance hadn't installed such a fence earlier. It makes sense that he would have taken those steps nearly two years ago, when Yogi the bear bit a young girl who went near Yogi's cage to retrieve a ball.

While Leavenworth County has no ordinance against exotic animals, it might be worth the county commissioners' time to review the safety measures that owners of such animals should follow. It's true that people who trespass on Provance's land and cozy up to the animals are taking their lives in their hands. It's also true that Provance and other owners of exotic animals have some obligation to prevent that from happening.

And anyone who trespasses on Richard Provances' property should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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