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NY law protects big cats, bans 'tiger selfies'

By DAVID KLEPPER

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York's Internet Romeos will have to find new ways to attract mates now that it's illegal to pose for photos with a tiger, lion or other big cat - a practice popular on online dating sites but denounced by wildlife advocates as potentially dangerous to both man and beast.

The law signed this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo prohibits direct contact between members of the public and big cats at traveling animal shows and fairs. Animal exhibitors would face fines for each violation.

So-called tiger selfies have emerged as popular profile photos on online dating sites, with users - generally young men - looking to stand out by posting a photo of themselves with the dangerous predators.

Wildlife advocates say the trend is not only hazardous to humans but encourages mistreatment of endangered animals. The big cats are often taken from their mothers as cubs, poorly cared for and then neglected or discarded when they grow up.

"They breed the cubs, use them for photo-ops, and then when they can't use them they breed more," said Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, a Tampa, Florida sanctuary that has more than 100 big cats. "Taking the cub away is a misery to the cub and the mother, and the cubs aren't fed properly. They don't sell tiger milk at the pet store."

The legislators behind the new law said they hadn't even heard of tiger selfies when they crafted the measure and simply wanted to impose some safeguards on the often unregulated industry of traveling animal shows.

"I had no idea what a tiger selfie was," said Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat. "This is a serious issue. People who take selfies with wild animals are fooling with their lives. And it harms the animal because they're generally not well-treated. They're seen as profit-making props."

Similar laws are already on the books in states including Mississippi, Arizona and Kansas, where a 17-year-old girl was killed in 2005 while posing with a tiger for her senior photos.

Baskin said she hopes other states follow suit. She said men hoping to use tiger selfies to score a date should consider posing with a domestic feline instead.

"I think women would love that," she said.

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nsheats August 14 2014 at 9:17 AM

More overprotection. I am a believer in natural selection to remove the idiots from the earth. Unfortunately Go. Cuomo is inhibiting this process by overprotecting them.....the idiots, not the cats. They need all the potection from the idiots that they can get.

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1 reply
uriahheep7275 nsheats August 14 2014 at 2:39 PM

If Cuomo really cared, he would not let these animal abusing side-shows pass through his state.

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pdqpress2 August 14 2014 at 9:14 AM

Boy, talk about over-regulation. The next thing Albany will pass is the number of allowed squeezes to pinch off a log.....

Flag Reply +7 rate up
fullblowncustoms August 14 2014 at 1:33 PM

I live here, This place has become Police State, And Cuomo is a POS !!!

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1 reply
ELITEVINYLGRAFX fullblowncustoms August 14 2014 at 1:41 PM

Cuomo needs to be GONE from this State. He is a pure Nazi. !

Flag Reply +1 rate up
crober8 August 14 2014 at 9:28 AM

The Nanny state strikes again...

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blivethopper August 14 2014 at 8:44 AM

So the picture is taken outside of New York State. What's the problem? Screw New York.

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2 replies
Kathy blivethopper August 14 2014 at 10:05 AM

Yes? So let the animals suffer, and put people at risk? They are not allowing it in their state. So stay out of NY you are so offended

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3 replies
Carolyn blivethopper August 14 2014 at 8:19 PM

Some people care more about animals and animal rights than they do about humans - It's unfortunate but true- more humans are abused and killed than are animals- and when someone says but animals can't think for themselves, etc - has never been attacked by a vicious feline or canine or saw a child attacked. That said - taking a picture with an animal - especially a wild one can be dangerous - to both but if a person wants to risk that- then it's their business - provided if they're attacked or hurt- they can't sue!

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smashingmonkey August 14 2014 at 11:39 AM

Is this for real? I mean, . . this can't be a real phenomenon or a real law. Can it?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
mashallaha August 14 2014 at 9:47 AM

All I can say is I would steer well away from any man who has a selfie picture with a cat, wild or domestic. A dog, yes, NOT a stinking cat. No way in hell would I date a man who has cats.

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1 reply
smashingmonkey mashallaha August 14 2014 at 11:41 AM

Cats are great. Cats are independent and don't need the constant attention dogs do. I have nothing against people who like dogs, but I never got the idea that it was one or the other. If people like dogs, god bless. But there is nothing wrong with cats as pets too.

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1 reply
ch3n02junkie smashingmonkey August 14 2014 at 2:04 PM

i'll take a dog over a cat any day of the week. twice on sundays!!!

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jmason7708 August 14 2014 at 6:55 PM

another nanny state glad i moved out of there

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movielover1958 August 14 2014 at 5:36 PM

Some people are just stupid. I love big cats. I would love to have a big cat. But you aren't going to impress me by posing with someone else's big cat. Leave the animals alone and go pose with some other natural item....... like a beautiful tree, a seascape, or if you're a real idiot, maybe try a selfie out in heavy traffic.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
fUK U August 14 2014 at 5:08 PM

thank God for Cuomo ! thank God !

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