President’s Update – The Zanesville Tragedy

We all heard about the horrific chain of events leading up to the eventual and unfortunate necessity of killing of so many wild animals kept as pets in Zanesville, Ohio.  This was an unspeakable tragedy for the animals, those involved with finding them, and for the community, not to mention the people who owned them.  No one won in this situation.  This event has incited and renewed public awareness to the issue of private ownership of wild animals.  AVMA has a policy (Private Ownership of Wild Animals) advocating for limited or prohibited private ownership of these wild animals > those animals:

  1. That pose a significant risk to people, and to other domestic animals, or
  2. Whose own animal welfare is significantly compromised.

AVMA took two actions:

  1. We sent letters to the Governors of seven states (AL, ID, NV, NC, SC, WV, WI) with more lenient legislation on the private ownership of wild animals and urged them to consider stronger restrictions.
  2. I participated in a live radio panel discussion on the aftermath of this incident.  Sheriff Lutz gave an account of that horrible night, and four of us then analyzed how we can hopefully avoid such a tragedy again in the future.  Participants included representatives from the AVMA, the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, the Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics, and the ASPCA.  It was hosted and moderated by Dr. Don DeForge, a practicing veterinarian in Connecticut and the host for two regular radio programs. 

We are all hoping our discussion will lead to renewed efforts to improve the safety and welfare of these animals with the strengthening of legislation to safeguard the animals’ health and protection of communities.  You can contribute by contacting your state VMAs to inquire about the current legislation in your state.

3 thoughts on “President’s Update – The Zanesville Tragedy

  1. I am not sure who “SomeOne” is, and I don’t see how this comment relates to the very tragic situation in Zanesville, however I couldn’t let this comment go without a response. First of all, nothing I see on Dr. DeForge’s websites states he is a “specialist” or that he is a board certified veterinary dentist, but rather that he is a Fellow in the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry (AVD). On the AVD website, it states:

    “The Academy of Veterinary Dentistry is an international organization of veterinarians with a special interest in the dental care of animals. Most of the members are active practitioners, serving the oral health needs of their patients. Some work with exotic animals in the wild and at exhibition parks and zoos. Many others are involved in research, teaching, consulting and medical sales.

    A Fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry is a veterinarian who has had additional training in veterinary dentistry and has passed a credentialing process and examination to achieve Fellow status.

    In North America, designation as a specialist in veterinary dentistry is limited to Diplomates of the American Veterinary Dental College, who have completed a training program and passed a certification examination that includes a practical examination.
    Many AVDC diplomates are also Fellows of the Academy.”

    He is listed as one of three Fellows in the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry in the state of Connecticut, and has received the Peter Emily Resident Award presented by the American Veterinary Dental College for the outstanding candidate in an alternative pathway program or residency program. There certainly may be something I am unaware of, but what specifically is the problem?

    Finally, I suppose I am being totally naive and idealistic to think that members of this small and wonderful profession of such broad interests in these challenging economic times could possibly pull together and work toward a common goal > to have the public recognize us for the tremendously high quality and diverse education we have in medicine across several species to serve society, to protect animal health and welfare, the public’s health, and to be able to do so without being financially burdened for that education for several decades? Is that too much to ask, SomeOne?

  2. Hosted by a vet who advertises that he is a dental specialist when he ISNT! What kind of ethics is that? What a farce.