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Weigh in by Friday for Captive Animals - Especially if You Live in Washington County

The public has until 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12, to submit written comments on Washington County's proposal to ban the keeping of exotic animals. We support the proposal because allowing people to keep these animals - lions, tigers and bears, for example - leads to more breeding, buying and selling for captive confinement that is not humane.

Click here to submit your comments, or call 503-846-8681. If you live in Washington County, be sure to say so (at the very beginning). The commissioners especially want to hear from county residents.

Your comments can be as simple as:

I support the proposed ordinance. Allowing private parties to keep exotic animals in the county will lead to more such animals being kept in small cages in captivity, which is inhumane and leads to too many situations of abuse and neglect. For the same reason, please also amend the ordinance to prevent traveling animal acts from keeping such animals in the county even temporarily. Thank you for considering my comments.

However, it's best to personalize your message a bit.

The proposed ban would prohibit keeping exotic cats, canines, bears, primates and crocodiles in the county, subject to a few exceptions. To see the specific proposal, go here. To see a summary in question and answer format, go here (below the comment form).

The county's proposed ban is in part a response to a business called "A Walk on the Wild Side," which exhibits exotic wild animals and recently relocated to Washington County. Willamette Week did a great article on the business in July, which you can find here. However, it's best to make your comments about the keeping of exotic animals in general and not about this particular operation.

While we support the Washington County proposal, we would like to see one exemption eliminated. In its current form, the proposed ordinance would not prohibit having the animals in "[a] [t]emporary circus, carnival or other similar itinerant show business, if the Exotic Animal is kept for the primary purpose of public entertainment." We asked the county to take out that exemption.

Thank you for getting involved on this important issue!

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