Enforcing laws regulating private possession of exotics protects both people and animals Although the ownership of exotic and endangered animals is banned by law, some people continue to keep distinctive birds, non-domesticated felines, such as lions, tigers, leopards and cougars, and reptiles, including many types of snakes and lizards, in their homes and farms. As The National reported yesterday, the Environment and Protected Areas Authority has confiscated 14 exotic and endangered animals during raids at homes and farms in the past three months. The country has strict laws to protect animals and deal with illegal practices. A new piece of legislation regulates the possession, trade and breeding of dangerous animals. It sets out penalties from Dh10,000 to Dh700,000 for ownership of exotic animals. Enforcing the law is very important to protect both animals and their owners. By their very nature, these animals are wild and don't adjust well to a captive environment, posing safety and health risks on to the individuals who possess them, to their neighbours, and to the community at large. For example, cubs of non-domesticated felines are cute and cuddly, but can potentially cause death or serious injures as they grow up. They may also carry zoonotic diseases, such as Herpes B, Monkey Pox and Salmonellosis, all of which are communicable to humans. These animals require special care, diet and housing, which the average person cannot provide and, thus, they may suffer from poor nutrition or become victims of emotional or physical mistreatment. In addition to raids on homes and farms where exotic animal pets are kept, it's also important to crack down on the illegal trade. Sellers of these animals both online and in the black market usually fail to mention the dangers, difficulties, physical and physiological needs of the animals, or the laws regulating private possession of exotic animals. This issue goes beyond animal rights to the right of individuals to be safe in their homes and neighbourhoods. Authorities have every right to intervene and enforce laws that were set in place to protect everyone.