Animal advocate: owning exotics expensive in Mississippi

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — An animal welfare advocate says Mississippi has strong laws to protect the public from exotic animals kept as pets, but doesn’t prohibit ownership as some states do.

The recent escape of 56 exotic animals from an Ohio property has focused more attention on the issue.

Debra Boswell of the Mississippi Animal Rescue League says state laws make keeping exotic animals very expensive.

Richard Rummel, with the state exotic species program, is in charge of enforcing the law. He told WLBT television the laws include high insurance requirements, veterinary care requirements, caging requirements, annual fees for each animal and a requirement that the owner have proof of experience caring for the animal.

Boswell says ownership of exotic animals, for most people, is a bad idea.

“For individuals to think they are safe to take them into their household, and they try to keep them as pets, is the ultimate in arrogance. It’s a disaster waiting to happen,” Boswell said.