Well Wishes to the Victim of the Black Bear Attack

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Two national organizations representing exotic pet owners speak out - Zuzana Kukol, EPOU Staff Writer

Exotic Pet Owners Uniting, (EPOU) and the Feline Conservation Federation, (FCF), two national organizations that represent responsible exotic animal ownership both send wishes for a speedy recovery to Ms. Rachel Supplee of Ashtabula County, Ohio.

Ms. Supplee was injured last week, when her neighbor's black bear escaped from its cage. Ms. Supplee is now released from the hospital and recovering at home. Reflecting upon the incident, she has a sense of humor. "Just my luck, something one-in-a million happens to me and it's not the lottery," she said with a laugh. "I get the bear."

The chances of injury from a loose captive bear are actually lower. According to PETA website that has tracked exotic animal incidents since 1990; all documented bear-caused injuries were to handlers working with their bears, or to people who stuck their limbs inside the cage.

Since Ms. Supplee is the only person reportedly injured by an escaped bear since 1990, the chances being injured this way are calculated at one in 4.784.000.000. The elusive Mega Millions Lottery jackpot odds are 1 in 175,711,536 proving the average person has a much better chance of winning a lottery.

The EPOU and the FCF organizations support responsible husbandry to keep these magnificent animals in captivity. The hallmark of responsible ownership is properly constructed enclosures and in the case of large carnivores, locked perimeter fences surrounding the primary enclosures.

Sara Comstock, Captive Exotic Animal Specialist for EPOU, stated “When owners utilize in these basic principals, the public has very little to fear. More people get injured each year by their domestic animals, most notably bulls, horses or even dogs than they get injured by captive exotic animals.”

Carol Bohning, Director of Education for the FCF said, “FCF teaches that facilities that house large carnivores must have perimeter fencing”, adding, “ Escapes are damaging not only to the animal and anyone who might be injured, but escapes are also extremely harmful to the thousands of responsible keepers who become targets of knee-jerk legislation to prohibit private ownership.”

People are more likely to get injured or killed by wild bears (see the link below). In April 2006 alone 1 person was attacked black bear in Olympic national park, WA and an Ohio family of 3 was attacked the same month in Polk county, TN, one of these persons died and 2 ended up in a hospital.

To find out more about us, our activities and to meet our members, we invite you to our websites and Elist:

http://www.thefcf.com - The Feline Conservation Federation exists to further conservation of felid species with an emphasis on the efforts of individuals to gain knowledge of these wondrous creatures and promote captive propagation programs.

http://www.epou.org - EPOU (Exotic Pet Owners Uniting), is a worldwide recognized organization. Our members are exotic animal enthusiasts consisting of private owners, educators, sanctuaries, breeders and individuals. We are working together to protect and maintain the rights of private ownership through responsible behavior and education.

wild bear attacks: http://www.maineguides.org/referendum/pdf/Bear_Attacks.pdf

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Sara Comstock
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