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First Responders Train for Potential Wild Animal Escapes

May 16, 2016


Recognizing the concern arising from recent incidents of animal escapes, Dade City's Wild Things hosted a class designed to teach law enforcement how to deal with escaped animals.  The class focused on skills such as how to observe escaped animals and how to set up a perimeter around a wild animal on the run.  The goal is to make sure responders know how to react to an escaped and potentially dangerous animal.  "If it’s a cow out or a horse out we know what to do. If it's an exotic animal we have no idea, so when I heard about this class I was one of the first ones to sign up," Corporal John Hayhurst with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.  "It is important that first responders are on the same page in knowing what they are potentially getting into whether responding to an escape or a disaster where a facility has some of these animals," Captain Chris Roszkowiak with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.  Wild Things also houses safety equipment such as tranquilizer guns and safety shields.  The training session comes in the wake of the death of a veteran zookeeper at a South Florida zoo after a 13-year-old Malayan Tiger attacked and killed the zookeeper in the Tigers' night enclosure. 

For more information, see:


Josh Thomas,, "First responders train for potential wild animal escapes" April 18, 2016,


Casey Cumley, WTSP, "First responders learn to handle wild animals," April 18, 2016,


Sergio Bustos, Miami Herald, "Florida zoo to reopen after deadly tiger attack," April 17, 2016,


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