County officials to review law on exotic pets
Recent incidents involving a lion and a bear have prompted the Leavenworth County Commission to explore a resolution that regulates the ownership of exotic animals.
During a discussion of possible regulations Monday, Commissioner Joe Daniels reviewed a rough draft of a resolution, which calls for 13 separate guidelines for the ownership of the animals.
The guidelines include caging requirements, a requirement to have liability insurance of at least $100,000 for each occurrence of damage to property, death or bodily injury, and signs posted to alert people of the animals' presence.
Daniels' resolution also calls for each animal to be registered and identified by microchip or tattoo at the expense of the owner. Any owner who fails to comply with any of the guidelines could be fined and charged with a misdemeanor, he said.
Commissioners will review and take action on a revised version of the resolution at a hearing Oct. 2 at the Leavenworth County Courthouse.Daniels said the resolution is designed to protect the public from the exotic animals.
"The public contact with these animals should be kept at a minimum," Daniels said.
Consideration of regulations for owners of exotic pets stems from two attacks by animals owned by Richard Provance. Provance, who lives about six miles from Tonganoxie, could not be reached for comment.
On Aug. 19, Misty Allison, 27, was bitten on the arm by an African lion. Pete Cale, 32, was bitten on the wrist by a black bear on Aug. 26. Both were treated at the University of Kansas Medical Center and released.
Because of the attacks, Leavenworth County Sheriff Herb Nye put the animals under a six-month quarantine.
Frankie Jackson, Leavenworth County Health Department administrator, said action is needed to ensure public safety. "I felt very uncomfortable with the way things have played out," Jackson said.
Commissioners are not pursuing any outright ban on ownership of exotic animals.
"I am not willing to say we should do away with all of them just because we have a situation where one owner may not have fulfilled his obligations," Commissioner Don Navinsky said.
Commissioners also discussed the possibility of requiring a special-use permit for anyone who wants to keep exotic animals.