Deadly Exotic Animal Trade in U.S.

ABC News investigation looks on the unregulated world of breeding fierce animals
4:07 | 10/20/11

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Transcript for Deadly Exotic Animal Trade in U.S.
Then yesterday that Ohio authorities shot and killed 49 rare animals including eighteen Bengal tigers released from -- compound. Whose owner had been repeatedly cited for animal abuse raises an urgent question. -- exactly is allowed to keep these kinds of creatures and why. It turns out a lot more people than you may think and a lot more places may -- even house next door. Tonight Brian Ross investigates. The call to 911 came too late. We have apparently tied she got out of the gate -- got in the debate Chris. Circled -- that there. The snake had to be pried off the child who had bite marks across -- for. He was one of more than sixty times across the country. -- animal rights groups say exotic animals have killed humans in places were exotic animals and no place being. People bring these animals and warehouse they get a baptism in reality real fast and then end up a very very sad situation. The bizarre release of exotic animals this week by -- suicidal owner in Zanesville Ohio. As again focused attention on the issue. But an ABC news investigation has found in as a problem far beyond Ohio due to -- or nonexistent laws in so many states. As seen in this documentary there are baby bears in the front yard. Lions in the living room and monkeys in hijackers. Cute when little but deadly -- These -- some of the most powerful. Animals in the world. And the last acquisition B is confined there -- homes. In fact the Humane Society of the United States says there are likely more tigers living in American homes -- there are in the wild. Owners say it's a question of individual rights -- -- done correctly. And the well first -- curve as the reasons should be able. No federal law applies to tigers born in captivity. And in some places there are more license requirements for a dog then there are for tigers the laws don't exist to forbid people from having. Tigers as pets. And thanks to the lax or nonexistent laws the trade in tigers and all kinds of exotic animals is booming. This hidden camera has made an animal auction in Ohio. On sale this day were baby monkeys cougars a high you know all leak. The video was made for the documentary the elephant in the living document in the efforts of Ohio animal rights activist Tim -- -- support for people who see that these things are so easy to get -- walk out with a deadly snake without anybody seeing -- tonight it's absolutely ridiculous. And as we found in a previous CBC news investigation. There are dangers even with those little monkey. Many people dress up and treat like their children do everything with us that -- with us and have a love them. But animal rights activists say many of them come right out of research labs in -- -- little attention paid to potentially fatal health risks particularly and the captain mark. Which can be a carrier of the herpes B virus which can be fatal in humans. It's more than just the dangers of OT then and physical strength. It's disease risks that these animals pose. Beth Griffin a 22 year old researcher at Emory University died six weeks after she was splashed in the I -- body fluid from a mechanic -- Since then research labs have offered training about how to stay safe. Treat all -- tax is if they were herpes B positive. But -- caps are still widely available for -- aspects. Of no requirement. That owners be notified -- -- about the danger it's so frustrating that we have to wait for these terribly tragic incidents to. -- wake up the public. And to demand action from our lawmakers now animal rights activists say they hope that what happened in Ohio this week. Will lead to new and tougher laws and end the easy availability of such wild things living next hour. For Nightline Brian Ross ABC news.

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

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