WILMINGTON -- A statewide ban on exotic animals is a step closer to reality. A study committee of experts has forwarded its recommendations to the legislature. The committee would like to ban most exotic animals from being kept as pets, or in private zoos. Supporters say they want it to pass to keep neighborhoods safe. But private zoos worry that it will hurt their business. Cape Fear Serpentarium owner Dan Ripa said, "They cannot physically shut us down. They cannot legally do this but they can make it very difficult for us to operate. For instance, they can write into law that when an animal dies with natural causes we cannot replace it." Without being able to replace the dead animals private zoo owners will eventually only have empty cages, forcing people to travel to Asheboro to go to the closest state zoo.
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