Pet Dogs and Cats or Pumas and Apes, You Be the Judge - NBC Connecticut

Pet Dogs and Cats or Pumas and Apes, You Be the Judge



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    Cheetahs look so cute, but then they grow up.

    Dogs, cats, fish and hamsters won’t make most neighbors cringe but bring home a pet chimp, black bear or a cheetah and you might not be the most welcome member of your community.

    The state Department of Environmental Protection is bringing a pet road tour to three spots in Connecticut to find out what people think make acceptable pets and which they don’t want in the neighborhood.

    The open forums come after a brutal chimp attack in Stamford in 2009 that left a woman disfigured and fighting for her life. The victim, Charla Nash, is suing the DEP for $150 million for allowing Travis, a 200-pound-chimp, to live as a pet.

    Your input will help the Commissioner of Environmental Protection come up with new regulations.

    "The possession of dangerous, potentially dangerous and exotic animals raises important public policy and public safety issues. We know that many individuals hold these kinds of animals and we routinely receive calls to remove them from people’s homes,” DEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette said.

    In people in Connecticut do seem to have exotic animals. Last July, the state held an amnesty day for exotic animal and more than 135 animals were surrendered.

    You’re invited to attend the meetings but leave your pet at home. Only service animals are permitted at these events.

    The first of three meetings will be held on March 16, at the Department of Environmental Protection Marine Headquarters in Old Lyme, 7 to 9 p.m.

    A second meeting will be held on March 18, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, 16 Meriden Road, Rockfall.

    A third meeting will be held on March 24 at the Department of Environmental Protection Kellogg Environmental Center, 500 Hawthorne Ave., Derby, from 7 to 9 p.m.

    Find more on the meetings here.

    If you cannot make it, send your written comments by March 31 to:

    Jenny Dickson
    Department of Environmental Protection
    79 Elm Street
    Hartford, CT 06106