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Bear cub photo opportunity shut down at Deer and Turkey Expo

March 24, 2012 at 08:43 PM

Peoria Journal-Star

An exhibit that would have let visitors to the 2012 Field & Stream Deer and Turkey Expo have their picture taken while holding a bear cub was shut down Friday because of a city ordinance, according to the Peoria County director of animal control.

Expo promoter Glen Helgeland seemed surprised by the actions taken Friday by Peoria County Animal Protection Services.

“Apparently there’s a rule on the books that a bear of any size is considered a dangerous animal,” Helgeland said.

Near where the exhibit was supposed to have been held, a handwritten sign read:

“Bear cub pic booth shut down by PAWS. Call county commissioners to voice disapproval.”

PCAPS is the successor to PAWS, the formerly city-run Peoria Animal Welfare Shelter.

Who made the sign could not be confirmed Friday night, although a woman working at the entrance to Bob Sawmiller’s Wildlife on Wheels exhibit, where the bear cub was to be made available, called the situation “absolutely ridiculous.”

The ordinance does not prevent species of animals designated as “dangerous” by the Illinois Dangerous Animals Act from entering city limits, said Lauren Malmberg, director of PCAPS. It does, however, prohibit public contact with any animal that falls into that category.

“That was an ordinance that changed many years ago in response to incidents that were taking place across the country,” Malmberg said. “Some places have chosen not to come (to Peoria) because they were making money off taking pictures with these animals.”

Malmberg was notified of the photo opportunity when an animal control employee went to the Civic Center to have Sawmiller fill out a permit and application that allowed him to run his exhibit.

“Mr. Sawmiller has been nothing but professional with me and my officers,” Malmberg said Friday night. “I’m sorry he came all this way and he’s not able to do what he wanted to do.”

Malmberg says the species on the list that are considered dangerous include elephants, big cats, bears, wolves, coyotes and hyenas. No distinction is made in the law for age or size of the animal.

“There are a number of states that have broad, non-restrictive laws when it comes to wild animals. Florida and Texas would be good examples,” she said. “Illinois has strong laws when it comes to that.”

Justin Glawe can be reached at 686-3196 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow him on Twitter @JustinGlawe.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

(Lauren Malmberg) “Some places have chosen not to come (to Peoria) because they were making money off taking pictures with these animals.”

A few google comments from the same….

““I don’t think these animals should even be in captivity, unless it’s a well-managed zoo,” she (Lauren Malmberg)said” SB3264…. on a $250 fee for having a wide variety of animals in captivity.

““It’s practically cheaper to get a lion or tiger cub than to get a purebred puppy. Virtually anyone can get an exotic animal, and a lot of people are ill-equipped to have them,” Malmberg said.

I call BS on this one.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/25 at 07:46 AM

Nice article.

Carpet cleaning nyc

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/29 at 08:28 AM

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