Exotic Animals Focus Of Virginia Public Meeting

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The public is getting its say on whether Virginians should be allowed to have potentially dangerous animals.

A working group examining that question has scheduled a public meeting Wednesday in Richmond. The issue is being studied by a 32-member working group that includes animal rescue groups, exotic animal owners, a clergyman who uses big cats in his ministry and government officials.

The question in Virginia arose after an Ohio man released his collection of more than 50 big cats, primates and other exotic animals. All the animals had to be tracked and killed.

Gov. Bob McDonnell directed state wildlife officials to examine current restrictions on exotic pets and to assess whether they need to be expanded.

A Chesterfield man and avid snake collector found dead in his home October 1 died from complications from a snake bite, the State Medical Examiner's Office said.


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