Caroline County ordinance forces couple with exotic animals to move out

CAROLINE COUNTY, Va (WRIC) – A Caroline County couple will have to leave their home after county officials banned the ownership of exotic animals.

Sammy Johns and Mary Fienberg moved to their home in Woodford two years ago so they could have their animals with them. But last night, the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance that bans any wild or exotic animal–permanently.

“I feel that we were wrongfully done over two people’s opinions,” said Johns.

Johns has been taking care of his 2-year-old mountain lion named Czar since he was a kitten.

He and Fineberg have a house full of animals, including three exotic monkeys.

The board made the decision to ban the animals after neighbors complained the couple wanted to bring even more wild animals to their backyard, including a white tiger, to lynx and a small leopard.

The sheriff’s office argued it’s a public safety issue, saying the county would not be equipped to handle an emergency if the animals got loose. While neighbors worried about their kids and livestock.

“They shouldn’t be scared. I’m a professional in my business, do you think I’m going to let that cat go in a hurt somebody?” said Johns.

The two hoped to open a branch of their nonprofit “PEACE Fam” in their yard, opening their land for visitors to see the animals.

Wanted get something so they could see it, and give them an educational end on it.”

But now they are packing their things, searching for a new home.

“I’m not giving up my cat for one thing. I’m not giving up my monkeys…they’re my family,” said Johns.

They have until July 6 to move out.

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