Alabama Zoo Director, Patti Hall, Weighs In On the Recent Animal Tragedy in Ohio

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Patti Hall explains situation would not have happened had there been federal laws and regulations banning private ownership of exotic animals.

I urge all of us to examine this issue and make important changes to our policies concerning the possession, ownership and sale of exotic animals in this country,”

Former Ohio resident and current Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo Director, Patti Hall, joins animal commentator Jack Hanna and other animal advocates in expressing extreme dismay for the lack of enforced laws protecting exotic animals in the state of Ohio and nationally.

“I’m appalled and deeply saddened by the tragic death of the 48 large animals at the exotic animal farm in Zanesville, Ohio. While authorities felt they had to act quickly to protect the public from roaming animals, this horrific situation would not have occurred if there were federal laws and regulations banning private ownership of exotic animals,” explains Hall.

“Terry Thompson and his farm should never have been allowed to operate, period. Only trained, licensed professionals and accredited facilities should be allowed to possess exotic animals. I strongly believe that banning private ownership should not be determined state-by-state, but one that all Americans should abide by. It is apparent that Ohio state laws are not in place, enforced or have loopholes,” adds Hall.

In the animal world, Hall is a highly respected animal expert who made headlines in September 2004 when she performed a full-scale, off-site, total evacuation of the non-profit Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo during Hurricane Ivan. Transporting over 270 exotic zoo animals to her home and property to escape the deadly storm was no small feat and within ten months, she had her staff had done it two more times for Hurricanes Dennis and Katrina.

Hall was voted “Person of the Week” on Peter Jennings’ World Nightly News and featured in numerous newspapers and magazines such as National Geographic and People magazine. The Weather Channel featured the zoo in one of their “Animal Storm” episodes and soon after, Hall and her staff were stars of their own 13-part docu-reality series called “The Little Zoo That Could” which aired on Animal Planet. She has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America and numerous TV affiliates nationwide and is known for her ‘personable’ demeanor with zoo visitors and her passionate commitment to animal welfare.

In this situation, Hall points out that it’s most often the animals that suffer under private hands not just from inhumane treatment and ignorance, but from irresponsible behavior, even under the best intentions. She explains, “When animals are scared or feel threatened, they become dangerous. It is completely natural behavior to protect themselves or their territory. In cases where public safety is in jeopardy, of course authorities must act to protect humans first and foremost, but slaughtering 40-something animals, some of them endangered, is a heartbreaking consequence of bad or non-existent policy.”

Hall’s mission as a zookeeper is to educate the public about the humane treatment of animals and the appropriate relationships human beings should have with them, which includes the conservation of natural habitat and the protection of endangered species. “A Bengal tiger is not a pet. This man had 18 of these endangered tigers and now they are all dead. As a frequent recipient of abused, neglected or abandoned exotic animals, from snakes to monkeys, I urge all of us to examine this issue and make important changes to our policies concerning the possession, ownership and sale of exotic animals in this country,” states Hall.

Hall is available for interviews via phone or in person at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. If you would like her in-studio, please contact her PR team to make arrangements at Daphne(at)pralliance(dot)net or 323.864.9890. For additional information about the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, please visit http://www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.org.

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Daphne Ortiz

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