Bill Would Penalize Releasing Exotic Animals into the Wild

State animal experts say they’re in favor of a bill which would make it a class C misdemeanor to release an exotic animal into the wild without a permit.

ExoticTiger

Photo: Joe Hren/WTIU News

A tiger being cared for at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center.

State animal experts say they’re in favor of a piece of legislation which would make it a class C misdemeanor to release an exotic animal into the wild without legal authorization or a permit. LaPorte Democrat Senator Jim Arnold’s bill would assess a fine of at least $500 and no more than $2,500 to anyone caught illegally releasing such an animal. Indiana Department of Natural Resources spokesman Marty Benson, said some animals more associated with tropical climates have been set free in Indiana.

“It was really in reference to some issues they have had up in his district people who purchased exotic animals for his case big constricting snakes or crocodile that become of an unmanageable size and then they just turn them out.”

Joe Taft, the director of the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point, said he’s in favor of the bill, even though he does not think many people are intentionally releasing exotic animals in Indiana.

“This is not like Florida you know where you have the problems with lots of animals being imported and snakes being released, I don’t think Indiana is even close to that.”

The bill is still awaiting a hearing in the Senate.

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