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Last Thursday, a pair of chimpanzees escaped from their cages on Rowland Avenue in the northern part of the valley. Police shot and killed the male, and then tranquillized and recaptured his female mate shortly afterwards. In the wake of this incident, Nevada State Sen. Michael Roberson has announced that he will sponsor a bill in the next legislature to ban ownership of exotic animals.
“I think it is utterly ridiculous that in southern Nevada you can have a wild dangerous animal in a residential neighborhood. It’s incredibly dangerous; it’s a public safety issue," says Roberson. It’s also tragic for the animals involved. It’s inhumane. Their natural habitat is not in a backyard or a basement in southern Nevada. Thank goodness that chimpanzee -- or a wolf or a boa constrictor snake or any of the other dangerous animals that are kept on properties in Nevada -- thank goodness they didn’t come into contact with a family or with children. We’d be talking about an even more serious tragedy.”
Roberson believes that at a bare minimum wild animals should be banned as pets. He says exceptions should be made for animals that are featured in entertainment acts on the Strip, but that even in those cases the animals should be housed and cared for appropriately.