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Next on Netflix: Not your typical housecat

27 April 2014 By Eva Niessner, Staff Writer No Comments

We’ve probably all dreamed of owning a pet that we never actually imagined we could keep — maybe a venomous snake, an exotic bird or even a wolf. But most of us put that thought away in favor of a cat, dog or hamster. Not everyone out there is content with something so tame, though. Many states have minimal, or even zero, laws regarding keeping exotic creatures as pets, and that’s where the trouble begins.

“The Elephant in the Living Room” is a documentary about how easy it really is to get a dangerous animal as a pet in the United States.

People can go to auctions and come home with vipers, or browse catalogs that promise cuddly baby tigers and cougars. Though many of these animals are sweet and harmless when they’re young, they grow into giants with the force and instinct of a predator.

The main topic of the documentary is Terry Brumfield, a man who has two pet lions that gave him purpose after he suffered a debilitating accident. Though Terry loves his lions, and the cubs they have recently had, he’s beginning to realize that caring for them is more than he might be able to handle.

As more people breed these animals without thinking about the consequences, the more likely it becomes that they will escape or harm their owners. Terry’s lion Lambert escapes one day, and Terry is under more scrutiny than ever.

He takes a lion cub into town with him, carrying it like a baby, while people coo and want to pet it. But when his adult lions are angry, they’re absolutely terrifying.Some of the statistics in the film are truly mind-boggling. There are more tigers in captivity in the state of Texas, for instance, than there are in the wild in India. As the animal control officers recount the things they’ve seen in the suburbs of Ohio, the warning is made perfectly clear.

There are people keeping dangerous, wild creatures in every city in America, and it’s only a matter of time before something happens to them. Maybe just stick with the puppies and kittens for now, guys.

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