Over 5,000 Dangerous Animals Are Kept As Pets Across Britain

When we think of ‘pets’, we think of dogs, cats and small furry animals. Heck, earlier this week one man made the news for keeping a fox as a pet, and we could just about deal with that. We’re all animal lovers here, so we’re willing to make exceptions…

However, figures from the Born Free Foundation have revealed that almost 5,000 dangerous wild animals are kept as pets in homes across the UK.

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Gone are the days of a cat and two gerbils, as several of us are opting for increasingly more outrageous pets, including apes, bears and snakes.

The list of dangerous pets in the UK includes:

  • 700+ poisonous snakes including deadly puff adders and diamond-back rattlesnakes
  • 290 big cats including 70 leopards, 11 pumas, 9 tigers, 9 lions and 3 cheetahs
  • 230+ apes
  • 14 wolves
  • 1 bear
  • 1 elephant
  • 1 giraffe

All of the animals included in these figures are registered under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, and it’s worth noting the numerous animals that would be classified under the act that are illegally kept in homes across the UK.

The Born Free charity is now looking to change the laws which protect these animals who, they say, suffer when kept in private homes.

Dr Chris Draper, Head of Welfare at Born Free, has said:

“We do not know how many wild cats are being kept with­out a licence but we are concerned the law is relatively easy to circumvent. In theory, anyone could be living next door to a wild cat and not even be aware.”

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All of these creatures have complex behavioural, psychological and environmental needs and all pose significant risks to humans. Life in captivity presents serious challenges to their welfare and, in particular, they should never be ­considered for living in a domestic environment.”

The current Dangerous Wild Animals Act was introduced in the mid 1970s after owning exotic creatures became increasingly more fashionable in the late 60s/early 70s. Whilst the Act considers the threat that keeping such animals poses to public safety and requires the owner to have full insurance, it fails to consider what’s i the best interest of the animal, and does not stipulate any form of training.

The push to review the legislation is a full consideration of each individual animal that it protects, particularly in relation to their well being as well as what’s in the public interest.

The push follows a year of legal advancements in the realm of animal welfare. So far in 2018, Scotland has banned performances from wild animal circus acts, and the media has been rife with talks of the possible ‘Lucy’s Law‘ and ‘Finn’s Law‘. There are also calls to review the Dangerous Dog Act, as well as the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act.

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Long may the changes continue – with a bit of a push, we hope that all animals will be viewed as equal, living beings in the eyes of the law!

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