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California to toughen inspections of wild animal facilities

June 21, 2012 |  9:45 am

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The state of California plans to step up oversight of roadside zoos and other private facilities that have dangerous wild animals.

The California Fish and Game Commission this week approved a measure that requires annual inspections of the facilities and eliminates a rule allowing the inspections to be done by veterinarians hired by the facilities being reviewed.

The change won praise from Nicole Paquette, deputy director of program and policy for the U.S. Humane Society. The new rules will lead to independent and unannounced inspections, she said.

 "California is home to hundreds of facilities that possess dangerous wild animals and the overwhelming majority have never been properly inspected, raising serious public safety and animal welfare concerns," Paquette said in a statement. "Tragic incidents, such as when a 700-pound bear killed a trainer, and rampaging chimpanzees who mauled and disfigured two people, may have been prevented through proper inspections.’’

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— Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: The state will take steps to improve inspections of wild animal facilities in California. Credit: AP Photo / Primarily Primates

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