Los Angeles City Council considering crackdown on exotic animals

SYLMAR, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles City Council is considering an ordinance that will prohibit the exhibition of wild or exotic animals for entertainment or amusement.

At Reptacular Animals, goats and alpacas are among the 350 furry, feathered and scaly residents. Jennifer Lagusker started taking in animals people no longer wanted or could not take care of about 10 years ago.

"Our main goal since then has been to go and educate the community on why this doesn't make the best pet. Instead of buying it, let me come and educate you on it," she said.

Jennifer and her husband Cory exhibit some of their animals for paid, educational purposes. But their business could be shut down if the council passes the ordinance.

"Most of our business is in the wonderful city of Los Angeles. We are also an authorized vendor at the L.A. Unified School District. We provide lots of afterschool enrichment programs at the schools all over the city," Cory said.

Councilman David Ryu proposed the ordinance out of concern for inhumane treatment, especially of animals in circuses and training practices. But Jennifer and Cory said these animals are like their children.

The Laguskers said their 15-acre property is a sanctuary and they do educational appearances. They have all the necessary permits from the city, state and USDA. They do not believe the ordinance as written is fair and plan to address the council at Tuesday's meeting.

"I want to go in there and give them my reasoning from an educated perspective and hopefully come to some sort of agreement where we can all be happy," Jennifer said.

If the Laguskers can no longer do paid presentations in Los Angeles, they do not know how they'll be able to pay the $36,000 a month it costs to care for their animals.
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