Authors: By SUE MANNING
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The slaughter of exotic animals in Zanesville, Ohio, in October has led to proposed legislation in Congress that would ban private ownership of exotic cats.
Officials estimate there may be as many as 20,000 tigers, lions and other big cats in private zoos and backyards across the country.
Those same officials say it is easier in some states to buy a tiger cub than it is to adopt a kitten from an animal shelter.
No one knows how many big cats are out there because laws governing them are so scattered.
Big Cat Rescue in Florida says 21 people have been killed and 246 mauled by big cats since 1990.
Opponents say cat numbers are inflated, captive conservation will be disrupted and owners will be forced underground by new laws.