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Zoo-goers in Australia are introduced to a rare baby pygmy hippo, the first of its kind born at Taronga Zoo in seven years. Newslook

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VINELAND - Like the county before it, the city’s government on Tuesday approved a ban on wild animals on public lands.

The ordinance, approved unanimously by City Council at their regular meeting, will take immediate effect and put an end to what city officials see as “cruel and inhumane treatment” by traveling circuses, carnivals and other shows that use exotic animals for entertainment.

One thing the measure does not do, however, is prevent such shows on private property nor prevent the Vineland Vol. Fire Company No. 2 from hosting the annual circus at the Vineland Flea Market.

Local animal rights activists praised the move.

“Today we can’t deny the truth of what they do to those animals to make them do the things they do,” Adrienne Possenti said. “Today we are witnesses to the beginning of the end of circus animal abuse.”

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Possenti originally proposed the idea to Mayor Anthony Fanucci after successfully lobbying the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders last fall.

Council members, many of whom called themselves “animal lovers,” were highly supportive of the measure.

“I’m a big animal activist, as is everyone here, and so this is an important issue,” Councilwoman Angela Calakos previously said.

Fanucci agreed.

“I can tell you as an animal lover that I would not support abuse of animals like I would not support abuse of human beings,” Fanucci said.

What the ordinance essentially does is prohibit the operation or sponsorship of a traveling circus show that uses wild exotic animals on property owned or controlled by Vineland, including parks.

Wild animals are defined in the ordinance as primates, lions, tigers, bears, cougars, coyotes, wolves, kangaroos, elephants, alligators, snakes, giraffes, camels, zebras, rhinos and more.

Allowed are exhibitions or demonstrations of domesticated animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats and others.

The ordinance mirrors language used in the county’s version, which the Board of Chosen Freeholders approved.

Possenti said she would likely approach Millville next with a similar request.

Daniel J. Kov; (856) 563-5262; dkov@gannettnj.com

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