Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Grapevine decides not to issue permits for Fellowship Church’s WILD series
Pastor Ed Young had wanted to incorporated elephants and other animals in the series.
Humane Society of Flower Mound representatives praised the city of Grapevine today for its decision not to issue permits to a local church wishing to exhibit dangerous wild animals as part of its services.
“We are thrilled with the city’s decision,” said HSFM President Linda Norman. “Tarrant County and the city of Grapevine ban these animals for good reason and the current ordinance is insufficient to comply with the safety requirements under the Dangerous Wild Animal Act. HSFM looks forward to working with Grapevine to enact an ordinance that protects both its citizens and the animals.” The church had indicated that the series featuring wild animals will continue for 4-5 weeks and posts on their Facebook page suggested an elephant could be included.
“Although elephants are not banned under the Dangerous Wild Animal Act, the city ordinance does ban wild animals, which elephants are. They are among the most dangerous and abused of captive wild animals,” said Stacy Smith, vice president of Animal Advocacy for HSFM and the Dallas chapter president of the Texas Humane Legislation Network.
Information obtained by the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday suggested the owner of the lion used in a recent sermon by Fellowship Church Pastor Ed Young might be Randy Miller. Humane Society of Flower Mound volunteers who attended the service reviewed video footage of Miller and verified that it appears to be the same man they saw with the lion at the service.
Video obtained through an internet search also shows Miller performing a similar act at another church. Records obtained from Humane Society of the United States regarding the conditions at Miller’s 55-acre California ranch showed small enclosures and not the life of luxury portrayed by Fellowship Church in its statements.
Miller is a well-known animal trainer who has worked on the set of many movies and other events. In 2008, his cousin Stephan Miller, also an experienced wild animal trainer, was killed by a bear he was working with on Miller’s property in California. In 1997, one of Miller’s lions escaped and was seen by neighbors walking down a city street. “These incidents demonstrate all too clearly the dangerous nature of these animals, even in the most experienced hands and controlled circumstances -- much less at a public event where the animal is within a few feet of the audience,” Norman said.
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