Feb. 16 will mark two years since Travis, the chimpanzee from North Stamford, viciously attacked the friend of his owner and was killed by a police officer.
On the day before that tragic anniversary, the state Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing on a list of wild and exotic animals to be banned in the state.
If the DEP's list becomes law, you will not be allowed to own lions, bears or alligators in the state. Same goes for deer, striped skunks, raccoons, rattlesnakes or bats.
There are dozens of animals on the list. Some will not be popular with people who aren't satisfied with the idea of owning a cat or a dog.
But the DEP will do right to make the list as restrictive as it possibly can. That is not an emotional reaction to the horrors that Travis inflicted on Charla Nash. It simply is an acknowledgment that wild animals are not made to be pets. Not only is it potentially harmful to humans, it's bad for the animals.
Humans can form relationships with wild animals, no doubt. But there is no such thing as a domesticated wild animal. That's why a chimpanzee like Travis could fly into a murderous rage after years of -- mostly -- docile companionship.
Dogs and cats have become domesticated through a long evolutionary process. They were made to be our companions -- and they do an incredibly good job of it, too.
People who choose to take on the risk of owning a wild animal do not make that choice for themselves only. They put their neighbors in danger, and, as we saw with the Travis incident, the police officers who have to respond when things go wrong.
It's also unfair to the animals. They were not made for captivity, and most are not suited to this climate. If they escape, or are let go after the novelty wears off, they find themselves in an environment for which they are not suited, and often die cruel deaths.
Regardless of the breadth of the ban that does or does not get passed, to all prospective wild animal owners: Shelters in this state are literally overflowing with dogs and cats who need homes. If you think it would be cooler to own an iguana, trust us, a pound mutt has so much more to offer in the long run.
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