Earlier this week Ukrainian circus trainer Oleskie Pinko was brutally mauled by lions. We all remember the fates of Siegfried & Roy’s Roy Horn, Grizzly Man Timothy Treadwell, Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, and chimp-mauling victim Charla Nash – whose devastating photos were revealed on ‘Oprah‘ last year. The implicit lesson? There is a reason we call them “wild” animals.
Tonight marks the premiere of Animal Planet’s new series ‘Fatal Attractions‘ (9/8c), which examines the most outrageous cases of pet attacks when people forsake our common domesticated furry friends for lions, tigers, bears, and, yes – wolf-dogs.
Through expert testimony and home video footage, each episode asks: What compels people to bring these creatures into their homes? How does a relationship develop? And why, ultimately, do these animals turn on their caretakers?
The Humane Society of The America’s Captive Wildlife Regulatory Specialist Beth Preiss says there are various factors that can motivate people to keep exotic animals as pets. “I think sometimes the danger makes it exciting when they’re attack animals,” she says. “Sometimes they’re held by people doing other illegal activities. Sometimes it’s somewhat innocent and people don’t know what they’re getting into: the animal is young and people don’t know that inevitably it is going to grow too dangerous for them to care for.”
Preiss adds that attention to this cause is paramount to changing lax exotic animal ownership laws across the U.S.. “I think raising awareness of this issue is important. More and more states inhibit this now, but it’s really important for the states that still allow a tiger in the backyard – that those rules get changed. If you’re talking about big cats or other large carnivores; if you’re talking about primates; if you’re talking about venomous snakes, it’s dangerous for people to have them in their homes and also a danger to the welfare of the animals.”
Preview ‘Fatal Attractions’ below: