Greenville City Council considering exotic animal ban


GREENVILLE, Pitt County - An animal exhibition featuring kangaroos, tigers and elephants was held near the Greenville Mall last May which upset some people.

A former city councilwoman, Marion Blackburn, saw it herself and was said it left her outraged.

"And I saw those beautiful elephants, walking around in circles, and the suffering on their faces," Blackburn said. "I knew it had to be the last time that a circus ever came to Greenville."

Blackburn spoke before the Greenville City Council on Monday as they decided to move forward to draft a bill that would ban commercial use of exotic animals. That ban would affect It's a Zoo Life, which is located in Edgecombe County. That business does animal exhibitions in Greenville regularly, partnering with East Carolina University, Vidant and the Ronald McDonald House.

"There's children, there's elderly, and there's disabled that come out, and there's some people that that is all they had to look forward to," said Jo Abrams, owner of It's a Zoo Life.

Abrams said most of her animals are rescues and that each animal is cared for and happy on the 15-acre property. They are animals that are stressed by traveling and never leave the property.

"The thing is I'm always gonna do the best I can, as a caregiver and as a parent. And that's how I feel, we feel like we're a family," Abrams said.

Blackburn argues any time you take these animals away from their natural habitat, it's just not right.

"Where's a tiger supposed to be? In the rainforest," Blackburn said. "Where's an elephant supposed to be? In the Asian rainforest. Where's a monkey supposed to be? In a tree doing monkey things."

The ordinance is still being drafted but Blackburn said it will be ready to present to the Greenville City Council for an official vote in a few months.

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