The Washington County Commission decided Tuesday, May 8, to consider amendments to a proposed ban on keeping "exotic" animals in the county. The amendments they will consider would extend (from 30 to 90 days) the time before the ordinance would take effect and also would grant an exception for facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The board will decide June 5 whether to approve, reject or amend the proposed ordinance. If the board amends the proposed ordinance, it would need to receive a new public hearing, which would be June 19.
Exotic animals are non-native wildlife such as lions, tigers, bears, monkeys and crocodiles. We support a ban on private parties keeping them in captivity because we believe such animals are physically and psychologically made to live in the wild, not in small, confined spaces; and because allowing people to keep these animals in captivity leads to more breeding, buying and selling for inhumane captive confinement. We oppose exemptions even for accredited facilities because they still increase demand for captive confinement, and because some accrediting organizations are illegitimate industry-run operations serving only to give false legitimacy to inhumane animal exploitation. That said, we would prefer to see the Washington County ban pass even with the amendments being considered because the AZA is considered at least somewhat reputable.
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.
Thank you for your interest in this important issue!