There are two bears kept as pets in a small cricle cage in Ripley, Ohio. The owners don't harm them, but by keeping them like this they're unintentionly are. They belong in the wild, because they are in fact wild animals.
Caring for wild animals is difficult or impossible. Despite what animal sellers may say, appropriate care for wild animals requires considerable expertise, specialized facilities, and lifelong dedication to the animals. Their nutritional and social needs are demanding to meet and, in many cases, are unknown. They often grow to be larger, stronger, and more dangerous than owners expect or can manage.
Wild animals spread disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discourages direct contact with wild animals for a simple reason: They can carry diseases that are dangerous to people, such as rabies, herpes B virus, and Salmonella.
Domestication takes centuries. Wild animals are not domesticated simply by being captive born or hand-raised. It's a different story with dogs and cats, who have been domesticated by selective breeding for desired traits over thousands of years. These special animal companions depend on humans for food, shelter, veterinary care, and affection. Wild animals, by nature, are self-sufficient and fare best without our interference. The instinctive behavior of these animals makes them unsuitable as pets.
Having any animal as a pet means being responsible for providing appropriate and humane care. Where wild animals are concerned, meeting this responsibility is usually impossible. People, animals, and the environment suffer the consequences.
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