Ohio has become ground zero for the debate over exotic animal ownership, according to the current issue of National Geographic Magazine, which quotes Dayton resident Tim Harrison and describes his work with Outreach for Animals. The former Oakwood police officer and founder of Outreach for Animals will talk to teens and families about exotic and potentially dangerous animals in a presentation at the Dayton Metro Library. “Lions, Tigers & Bears, Oh Why?” takes place Tuesday, April 22, 6:00 p.m. at the Main Library, 215 E. Third Street, and is free and open to the public.
Harrison’s animal rescue work is profiled in the award-winning film The Elephant in the Living Room. He’ll share stories of some of his most unusual animal experiences and rescues, some of which are detailed in his books, Wild Times: Tales from Suburban Safaris and Wildlife Warrior: More Tales from Suburban Safaris.
Harrison was on the scene in Zanesville helping local law enforcement officials after more than 50 large and potentially dangerous animals were released by their owner in 2012. The incident made international headlines and drew attention to Ohio’s lack of regulation regarding exotic pet ownership. Ohio now requires individuals to have a permit as well as other requirements for exotic animal ownership.
Having owned exotic animals himself including wolves and snakes, Harrison understands the allure, but has come to believe ownership of exotic animals should be banned. He works with individuals who currently have animals which may be dangerous not only to the themselves but to the community as well.
“My hope is that, with the right kind of support, the person will eventually see that owning this animal is a dangerous drain and will voluntarily choose to give it up,” Harrison says in National Geographic.
For more information on the library program, call the library’s Community Relations Department at 496-8901.
ABOUT DAYTON METRO LIBRARY
The Dayton Metro Library is one of the oldest and largest public library systems in Ohio, consistently ranking among the best in the nation. The DML consists of 20 branch locations in MontgomeryCounty, Outreach Services and the Main Library in downtown Dayton. In order to fulfill its mission to inform, inspire and enrich the community, the DML offers programs, materials and services for all ages and stages of life. It is funded in part by a portion of the state income tax and local levy support.
Specialized services and resources are available for schools, small businesses, nonprofit organizations, literacy providers and job seekers. The library houses a unique collection of local history materials. Computers are available free of charge for public use and computer instruction is available at many library locations.
In November, 2012, Montgomery County voters passed a $187 million bond issue to fund new construction and renovations for the DML. Highlights of the multi-phase, multi-year project include consolidating branches from 20 to 16, establishing an offsite operations center and completely renovating the Main Library. When the project is complete in 2017, library users will enjoy modern, efficient facilities providing superior services and technology for the 21st century. Progress on the project is posted regularly on the DML website at DaytonMetroLibrary.org.