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In light of the Ohio bill and others mentioning that dog bites cannot be compared to exotic animals due to the fact that there are "millions" of dogs, but not millions of exotics, I have prepared an analysis which breaks down figures to percentage of owners and/or households that have had an incident. The percentage of domestic animal owners that have had an incident, is greater than the percentage of exotic animal owners that have an an incident. In my research, I also discovered that according to the AVMA there are an estimated 1.18 million "other" exotics in the US. Resources are listed below the analysis. The analysis figures are PER YEAR.

Dog Bite Analysis... Number of dogs owned perspective- 4,700,000 dog bites / 72,114,000 dogs owned in us= 6.5% of dogs had an incident Number of households owning dogs perspective- 4,700,000 dog bites/ 43,021,000 households owning dogs= 10.92% of households had an incident. (According to AVMA households own and avg of 1.7 dogs) Number of individuals hospitalized by dogs- 800,000 hospitalizations/ 72,114,000 dogs owned= 1.1% of incidents required hospitalization. US population affected- 4,700,000 bites/ 312,000,000 US population= 1.51% of US population is bitten by a dog PER YEAR Above numbers do not include other "domestic" animals such as cats, and birds. Actual incidents by domestic animals is greater, but for purpose of this analysis the number of dog incidents suffice to prove that exotic pet owners have had a smaller percentage (and number) of incidents when compared proportionately to

domestics. To note that dogs cause about 12-25 deaths, and 31,000 reconstructive surgeries a year.

Primate analysis... Number owned perspective- 5 bites/ 15,000 owned= less than .01% (compared to dog 6.5%) Number owned perspective- 5 bites/ 5,000 owned= 1% (compared to dog 6.5%) US Population affected- 5 bites/ 312,000,000= less than .00001% (compared to dog's 1.5% of US population) According to AR groups 15,000 pet monkeys are owned in US. There are an average of 3 bite/scratch incidents a year. Most do not require hospitalization, and have been minor. Only exception was with chimpanzee which is an ape, not a monkey. I increased the average incidents in monkeys to 5 to show that even with a higher rate we are still significantly below dogs in number and percentage wise. The statistics above include both monkey and ape incidents, and NONE resulted in death of an individual as of 2012.

Exotic Animals as a whole As a whole if there are 100,000 exotics pets in the united states 13 incidents /100,000 exotics= .01% had an incident (again compared to 6.5% of dogs) (13 includes incidents at USDA, AZA facilities as well.) Even if number of animals is reduced to 50,000 pets owned- 13/50,000= .03% of owners had an incident which is still far less percentage wise than dogs alone.

According to Born Free there have been 526 exotic animal incidents that caused injury to humans over a 22 year period. This equals an average of 23.9 incidents among ALL exotic animals. Of these 526 incidents, 283 were by Exotic Pet

owners, which would be an average of 12.8 per year. Some of the incidents reported were only scratches not needing medical attention, but because animal was "exotic" it was reported. The remaining 243 incidents occurred at federally licensed USDA facilities ( 98 incidents occurred at AZA facilities, 97 at non-AZA, and 48 at circuses). The 526 also includes incidents by horses, deer and other animals which are exotic, but still considered domestic or farm animals. So actual number of incidents by animals considered to be "Dangerous" is less than the 526. 95 of the 526 incidents that occurred were by reptiles.

Enacting legislation which only applies to pet owners, or exempts a certain group will not solve problem because ALL groups had an incident. Although again, number of incidents is negligible, especially when compared to other day to day activities. Considering that the number of pet owners is much larger than the number of zoos in the country, yet the zoos had almost as many incidents involving animals also demonstrates that exotic owners are at least just as knowledgeable as zoos. When considering the number of facilities versus number of incidents, pet owners would have a lower percentage of incidents compared to zoological facilities.

It is difficult to say how many exotic animals are actually kept in captivity in the US. I think it is safe to say there are at least 100,000 exotics in the US especially when taking into account the reptile industry which is HUGE. According to AVMA the number of exotic animals is estimated at 27.1 million, but list includes fish, gerbils, rabbits, and the sort. The "other" category which would encompass carnivores, primates and other "dangerous" animals (not including snakes/reptiles) is estimated at 1,182,000. If this is case then 100,000 exotics owned is a gross underestimate, which only further supports our claim that exotics do NOT pose a

threat to public safety meriting bans, or regulations so stringent it almost equals a ban.

In conclusion, exotic animals as a threat to public safety is a fear mongering at its best, especially when compared proportionately to other incidents involving domestic animals. The FACT that there is such a low percentage of exotic owners who have had an incident demonstrates that the majority of exotic owners are responsible and do take good care of their animals. Exotic owners KNOW what they have, and what measures need to be taken in order to protect the public and their animals. What is necessary are FAIR regulations which apply to the entire industry, and do not exempt certain institutions. Responsible ownership needs to be promoted, not bans. Enforcing current regulations, or in cases where no regulations exist enacting common sense laws, would prevent many, if not most incidents. Regulations including basic care standards, proper diets, enrichment, minimum caging standards depending on animals, perimeter fencing and/or double door entry for larger species, and access to veterinary care.

If anyone has any questions please feel free to contact me at This posting may be cross-posted to help others fight negative exotic animal legislation if forwarded in its entirety so as to not lose source information, or author credits.


Eileen Perez-Carrion

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