Exotic Animals Being Kept as Pets

Thousands of dangerous animals are raised illegally in homes across the U.S.
2:36 | 10/20/11

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Transcript for Exotic Animals Being Kept as Pets
Details in the man who sent police on a big game on in Ohio by setting his collection of wild animals free before committing suicide. Police say Terry Thompson was bitten by one of his lions or tigers just moments after shooting himself. He's -- surviving animals are being cared for tonight at the Columbus zoo. But it turns out that across America thousands of tigers bears and other dangerous animals are being kept in homes as pets legally. ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross reports tonight on the extensive trade in exotic animals. As seed in this documentary there are lions and living rooms baby bears in the front yard and monkeys in high chairs cute -- little but deadly when -- and at least sixty deaths have been attributed to wild animals in homes and unlicensed zoos in the past twenty years. These are some of the most powerful. Animals in the world. And the last place they should be is confined their homes in seven states there are no laws restricting ownership of wild animals. In fact the Humane Society of the United States says there are likely more tigers living in American communities -- there are in the want the laws don't exist to forbid people from having. Tigers as pets and thanks too -- or nonexistent federal and state laws the trade in tigers in all kinds of exotic animals is booming. All legal. This hidden camera video was made at an auction in Ohio. Unsealed this day -- baby monkeys to cougars and -- hi Tina. The video was made through a documentary. Elephant in the living document in the efforts of Ohio animal rights activist Tim Harrison. Its support for people to see that these things -- so easy to get Michael walked out with a deadly snake without anybody seeing them today. Its -- ridiculous. And as we founded a previous ABC news investigation. Even monkeys although dressed up like children can be very district. It's more than just the dangers of OT. Physical strength it's disease risks that these animals pose. The death toll from the captain exotic animals is eye opening. 41 people have died from attacks by lions tigers bears elephants and monkeys 21 for mistakes. Including seven children. And -- -- -- the problem is not just lax regulation -- -- in seven states like Ohio have no real regulations at all actually no laws and Ohio is a big battle try to push for tough laws they hope what happened in Zanesville Ohio. This week. Helped push for tougher laws about who can own these dangerous out -- Jack Hanna was -- -- that is gonna happen and I am Brian Ross thanks very much.

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

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