Duluth Sport Show act slammed for past animal handling – Reuters

DULUTH — The owner of an animal act booked as a stage show for the Duluth Sport Show is being called out for a past violation of a New York animal welfare law.

Grant Kemmerer, owner of the Pennsylvania-based Wild World of Animals, was fined $3,750 in 2016 for violating New York laws banning people from taking “selfie” photos with a baby tiger.

Kemmerer said he was unaware of state law at the time and allowed a few people at a private event to have their picture taken with a baby tiger.

Kemmerer recently got his New York state license to show wild animals on TV shows through 2022 after a complaint he allowed certain TV hosts, including Jimmy Fallon and Rachael Ray, to touch some animals.

Kemmerer said he believes state regulations on handling his animals apply to the general public and not to private events or TV show staff booking his animals.

“If I had known it was somehow against the rules, I wouldn’t have let the pictures be taken because you know they’ll end up on social media,” Kemmerer told the News Tribune. state of abuse, neglect or cruelty to animals. It’s just an invention.

Kemmerer’s animal show is scheduled for several appearances during the Duluth Sport Show at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center from February 17-20. Kemmerer said his number at the Duluth show and the La Crosse, Wis., sports show from Feb. 10-13 never planned to include big cats. Instead, his show will include lizards, a scorpion, a python, an owl hawk, a hybrid hawk, large rodents, a sloth and other wild animals.

“I guarantee you’ll learn something new about wildlife,” he said.

“Wild World of Animals” is typical of many numbers booked for the Duluth Sport Show or Duluth Ice Fishing Show in recent years featuring a sea lion stage number, wrestling bear, birds of prey and a squirrel waterskiing behind a small boat in a large reservoir.

“We get these chain letters of protest almost every year. I bet I have 1,000 emails, whatever animal act we book,” said Chris Navratil of Shamrock Productions, owner of the Duluth Sport Show. . “They even protested Twiggy the squirrel waterskiing.”

Navratil said she was undeterred by the protests and that the “Wild World of Animals” show would continue as planned. She said she did a thorough background check on Kemmerer and found no major issues.

Kemmerer, who has worked with animals for more than 30 years, says he holds several state permits as well as federal permits from the US Fish and Wildlife, US Department of the Interior and US Department of Agriculture. He has been a guest animal expert on nationally televised shows including “The Tonight Show”, “Anderson Cooper 360”, “Fox and Friends”, “The Martha Stewart Show”, and “The Meredith Vieira Show”.

Kemmerer has been targeted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and by animal rights activist Timothy Harrison, who made the documentary film “The Conservation Game,” about animal abuse by big cat shows, pet owners. dog and cat facilities. The documentary includes “Tiger King” stars Carole and Howard Baskin and famous former zookeeper Jack Hannah, who Harrison says used abused animals for TV show appearances.

“Once his (Kemmerer’s) animals reach their expiration date and cannot be safely released to the public, they will be placed in Ma and Pa’s backyard menageries, auctions to be sold at untrained individuals or horrible roadside zoos,” Harrison said in an email. letter to the News Tribune. “Our documentary shows all of this, as well as Grant’s illegal activity in New York. …”

Kemmerer said all of the big cats shown in the documentary remain at his facility in Pennsylvania, except for one who now lives in a compound.

A website dedicated to debunking Harrison’s claims alleges he fabricated many of his claims.

Kemmerer noted that PETA opposes all zoos, all animal acts, most pet owners and all pet breeding, and the consumption of milk and to the consumption of eggs or meat of any kind. The group also opposes all hunting and fishing.

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