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Southampton looks to tighten exotic animal laws

A juvenile De Brazza's monkey eats fruit at

A juvenile De Brazza's monkey eats fruit at the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens. (Feb. 10, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Southampton Town is looking into tightening up its codes regarding the display of wild and exotic animals in the town, aimed at limiting exhibits of such animals to instances where the associated program is entirely educational in nature.

The town discussed the code changes at its weekly work session Friday afternoon.

Wild and exotic animals are already protected from exhibits, but strengthening the language would make sure exotic animals are not displayed at a function which adds only a small educational component.

Councilwoman Bridget Fleming spoke about a giraffe that was on site at the Hamptons Classic horse show last year, saying that showed the flaw in the law.

When animals are a “side show,” Fleming said, abuse can happen.

Wild and exotic animals as defined in the current law include giraffes, bears, tigers, primates such as monkeys, crocodiles, dolphins and poisonous reptiles among other creatures, outside of a registered zoo or aquarium.

Fleming said the law pertains only to wild animals by nature, and not domesticated animals as defined in the law such as dogs, cats, sheep, goats and fowl.

The town plans to hold a public hearing soon on the matter, before the summer season begins.

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