Wild Animals on the Loose

Debate grows over private ownership of exotic animals.
6:11 | 10/21/11

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Transcript for Wild Animals on the Loose
The dangers of private citizens owning wild animals was once again in the spotlight this week. After a man who owned a wildlife preserve in Zanesville Ohio said dozens of creatures lose before killing himself. At least 49 and including lions wolves and bears. Put down by local law enforcement officers in an effort to prevent the animals from attacking people -- This bizarre and tragic incident. Came amidst a growing controversy in the state sparked by the fatal mauling of a young man last year at the private -- where He worked as a caretaker. Since then animal rights activists and the -- to -- parents have been lobbying the governor and state lawmakers to pass new laws restricting the private ownership of exotic animals across Ohio. At the epicenter of the debate is Tim Harris. Dayton based animal rights activists and retired police officer. Who's been on a 37 year long crusade to educate people about the dangers of owning wild animals as household. -- captured and rescued hundreds of lions tigers bears alligators and snakes running -- across the country. His experiences were documented in the recently released film elephant in the living. And come into the side of Dayton where I was called -- I'm very unusual and dangerous. Call her for six year old boy -- had found and -- meg yeah barrage. And it I was applying its budget -- -- walk into the garage and myself although much of -- still a low voice I'm back from walk. -- -- Some of the -- at -- He -- embedded into the -- viper from Africa among the most dangerous snakes in the world for the world's longest match. About -- a heartless assault and always get your -- -- a snake around -- neck. Reporter on the ground driving -- car and a -- about. But couldn't believe it. Tim -- -- joins me now via Skype in Ohio -- -- that's quite a scene there -- that snake. Already that's very dangerous animals my daughter off a trading post classified ads locally. -- got -- viper with the world's longest fangs from Africa. What drives people who want to have these dangerous exotic animals. -- there reason to get the one thing it's as you see in the -- the open -- to actually see points or exotic animal auction and people walking out some of the most dangerous creatures all the -- everything from deadly venomous snakes to hyenas. The people get these animals was a lot of times in United States of America it's such a phenomenon -- organized -- American people want to bring the most dangerous exotic animals -- of their homes. They believe what they see on these reality TV shows that these things -- -- surgically altered animals -- animals. You know Hamels start truly acting like they normally would. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- And you're not a psychiatrist who what do you think drives people want to have that kind of danger in the living room. A lot of people lived through their animals they actually believe that they are wolf when they ought to Walter there the tiger -- present the movie charity He has sea lion man I -- -- actually looks like. You know -- cowardly lion on the it was a botched the extra start looking like -- -- And state by state the laws vary greatly you're fighting an Ohio try to ban this kind of exotic animal ownership. Yes in every state it's different but we do have about. Thirteen 1213 states don't have anything at all so we -- the need to change that right away we need some kind of -- regulations -- -- -- common sense. But you can buy a -- -- but you can't -- the Constance. We need to have somebody to step in and say man it's not right -- tiger -- and a and in suburban area. And now people don't realize the state of Ohio we did have a loss we have -- effect. You know that -- particular trial run autumn. The new governor came in governor case they can drop the laws so now it's the wild wild western state of Ohio as you saw here this disaster to happen here in -- So as -- -- now in Ohio anybody condone any kind of animal there's no law against it. Absolutely and out to some of the cities that I felt that -- like Dayton Ohio Cleveland places like that it's illegal happen in the city. But only got to do is go one block outside the city are good governor says it's okay to -- anything you want in your body and selling -- you. So what is the market -- party you'll find a tiger or cougar or -- venomous snake. That's good question it's easy to get on the Internet you'll do yourself a dangerous -- -- cobra. Never to your house 124 to 48 hours it'll fly actually in the underneath your -- but people flying on commercial airlines that's how they bring events. If you want a big Jack is going to be exotic able auctions on the -- are you had to do show up. -- dramatic walk out with a tiger. And what about for the animals we think about the human risk for the animals and take of that let's not a great life. No just think about that they're placed an occasional wild animals should be running three. Besides that 90% of these outlet out rescued animals most of their physical abnormalities people -- -- big catch chicken. They're also turned in their bones are structured properly. Most resembles have to be put down you know it's just sat secure lot of these animals please do not love -- the death Lieberman while. And is that part of the people do feel like kind of love -- -- man nature kind of cooperative venture there. Yeah I believe in our hearts -- believing they're connecting you know connecting with nature as well you don't see this in Africa with native people there are. Or in Australia places like that they live what he's -- -- animals. They respect and we've lost respect you know. Nine states of America that's why my organization outreach -- and started. Is because we had to teach people proper behavioral wildlife because they nobody LTV -- -- nobody shot while there. But there's a phenomenon that does continue. Yes it does it -- -- and it'll be able to stop them. You know by getting legislation and law stating it's illegal to own -- sell dangerous exotic animals and -- and not get goes and copies. -- big chats things of that nature crocodiles in a venomous snakes. You know what it would outlaw that 80% of the population I'm a retired police officer firefighter paramedic. And the thing is 80% of the population to exactly what the law say. Tim Harrison thank you very much for being with us today. They appreciate it thank you you --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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