COMMENTARY | The protection of people, animal and plants is threatened on a daily basis by irresponsible exotic pet owners. All exotic animals are not dangerous and all owners are not irresponsible, but stricter state laws are necessary to protect native wildlife and unsuspecting residents. When dangerous exotic pets escape, children playing on a backyard swing set are placed in grave danger. Even nondangerous exotic pets can wreak havoc on the native flora and fauna.
While legislators in Ohio continue hammering out the final details on new laws pertaining to dangerous exotic pet ownership, Florida officials are scrambling to deal with a "giant" rodent problem, NBC 6 Miami News reports.
The invading 3-foot long rats in one of the nation's most beautiful locations might not boast the same ferocious demeanor as the tigers released in the fall in Ohio, but they are dangerous. Residents and visitors to the Keys deserve to sit among the towering palm trees without the fear of being bitten by the razor-sharp teeth of dog-sized marauding rats. The rats can reach 9 pounds by adulthood.
An exotic pet breeder released eight Gambian rats into the wild more than a decade ago, NBC 6 Miami News reports. The animals reproduced and have the potential to upset the ecological balance on the string of islands. Destroying native crops will harm the economy. Florida wildlife officials have been working diligently to capture the evasive rats, which burrow underground.Exotic animals, the public and responsible pet owners deserve the right and protections of clearly defined laws and appropriate enforcement.