Melissa cares for a variety of exotic animals and has completed a certificate in veterinary assisting and a bachelor's degree in biology.
Have you ever taken a human family member to the local doctor, only for this physician to smile, treat you like a valued customer, then turn around and say that your family member has no business living with you on national television? I’m guessing not. But that is exactly what is occurring in the new Nat Geo Wild program, Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER, a show that features the daily life of a veterinarian that exclusively sees patients that are not dogs and cats.
Let me start this article off by making this perfectly clear.
If you are a client of Broward Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital and if you own (or support people who own) ‘non-domesticated’ species including parrots, reptiles, or anything other than typical rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs (yes, even if she owns some of these pets herself), it is imperative that you locate another vet as soon as possible, unless you have an absolute emergency and cannot find another suitable vet, but after your animal recovers, let her know why you won’t be returning for any wellness exams.
The keeping of exotic pets is controversial—in fact, it has suffered so much that now even some of the doctors that we entrust their health care to are against the practice and feel as though they must lampoon buying exotic pets to appear angelic in the face of the public.
People are, of course, entitled to their own opinions, despite the fact that it is nearly irrefutable that keeping most exotic pets doesn’t differ at all, ethically, from keeping so-called domesticated animals as long as they are receiving proper care.
This proper care does include finding a vet experienced with animals that have the unique needs of your species. However, Dr. Susan Kelleher, or Dr. K as she is called, has taken her exotic pet criticism to a new, pitiful level.
Now that she has her own TV show, she implores her viewers that while she will treat (and collect large sums of money from) her clients’ ‘exotic pets’, she does not believe her clients should own them. She does this with extravagantly failed logic which I routinely debunk in my articles, and will also do so here.
- 5 Irrefutable Arguments That Support Exotic Pet Ownership
A quick introduction to my way of thinking about the exotic pet controversy.
Meet Dr. K! She doesn’t approve of what you own.
I was admittedly excited about this show, missing programs like Animal Planet's Emergency Vets (featuring the clinic Alameda East that sees both domesticated and exotic pets without a single disparaging remark to my recollection) that I've grown up with, so you can imagine my disappointment with this short clip when I heard Dr.K say this:
“But I have to be honest, sometimes I say to myself…why is this animal in captivity? Y’know you just have to come to the realization…these animals are in the pet trade, period. I don’t promote that they stay in the pet trade”.
A fennec fox gets a check up
Here is what Dr.K thinks of her client, David Rodriguez, and his captive bred fennec fox:
“I kinda have some qualms about fennec foxes being pets…  …they’re actually natives to the Sahara desert, so they’re a desert species. It’s not normal for them to live in Florida.”
First of all, fennec foxes are mostly kept as indoor pets, so the typical household wards off Florida’s oppressive humidity. Fennec foxes are some of the ‘easiest’ exotic pets a person can hope to own.
Second, nearly every zoo in existence maintains species not native to the climate of which they are located. Most exotic animals do completely fine, or sometimes even better, in climates they haven’t evolved in. There is literally no difference between keeping a fennec fox in Florida and keeping a Siberian husky in Florida (the fox will probably be affected less), but once again, the highly irrational ‘domestication myth’ prevents people from making the same logical conclusions we routinely do with our common domestic pets.
- Understanding Domestication | The Ethics of Wild Animals as Pets and in Zoos
Why do people put down wild animals in captivity while being perfectly fine with domesticated animals in human control? Are domesticated animals really that different from exotic animals?
The narrator (not the vet) also states:
“They’re believed to be declining in the wild due to the pet trade and hunting them for their fur"
...as if Mr. Rodriguez hasn’t been degraded enough by Dr. K. Now the typical ignorant viewer is scoffing at his decision to acquire an ‘unsuitable’ pet and put them at risk for extinction. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has this to say about the fennec fox (Vulpes zerda):
“Listed as Least Concern, although there is no detailed information on its abundance, the species is relatively widespread in the sandy deserts and semi-deserts of northern Africa to northern Sinai. At present, there are no known major range-wide threats believed to be resulting in a population decline that would warrant listing in a threatened category.”
“Current statistics are not available, but the population is assumed to be adequate based on the observations that the fennec is still commonly trapped and sold commercially in northern Africa.”
This statement tells us that not only is the fennec fox wild population highly unlikely to be in trouble, but the ‘pet trade’ they are a part of mainly exists locally in their native region (“exhibition or sale to tourists”). Because fennec foxes readily breed in captivity, they are fully sustainable, even if some are removed from the wild, legally or illegally, and this is the case with the most popular exotic mammals in the pet trade.
A quick Google search for ‘fennec fox smuggling’ does not yield any relevant results, confirming my suspicion that fennecs are not popular candidates for shipment to the United States pet trade. Here, the breeding meets the demand of fennecs as pets. Therefore, buying a captive bred fennec in the United States does little or zero harm to the wild populations that are doing well anyway.
“Because these exotic animals are not your typical pet all the variables must be as close to mimicking the outdoor environment because these animals are not domesticated they’re not supposed to live indoors but we force them to…”
This statement that Dr. Thielen (another vet that works under Dr.K) makes about pet reptiles is technically correct, but the rhetoric reeks of anti-exotic pet sentiment. When she states “but we force them to”, it sounds like the animal is being cruelly treated, or subjected to terrible conditions.
In reality, ball pythons are some of the easiest snakes you can own, and they can easily thrive and breed in captivity despite completely 'unnatural' conditions just like any pet rabbit. It is completely untrue that ANY animal, including dogs and cats, has evolved to live indoors with humans. This same failed logic is mirrored in Dr.K's written statement on this article:
"The message I really want to get out to people on this show is that these animals with wild instincts and wild needs are living in a relatively unnatural environment."
Am I blowing things out of proportion?
No. No. And no. If you are an exotic pet owner, you probably realize the immense pressure that special interest groups are placing upon us and our passion to live with unique animals.
It seems that ever year, another horrendously draconian ban is placed on a relatively harmless group of animals because of the successful manipulative actions these groups carry out. Every little bit of criticism aimed at exotic pet owners at this point is like whipping an exhausted, dying horse.
Exotic pet owners should certainly not tolerate any contributions to anti-exotic pet owner sentiment from the people they are employing to help them with their pets, especially if it is televised. The damage that programs like this do to pet owners is irreversible.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on April 20, 2020:
There is not enough funding for vaccine research on foxes, because not enough people own them. What happened to Vader was a result of the irrational hatred of exotic pets. It was reported by some idiot, and when people like Dr. K call us unethical on TV it doesn't help.
S on April 13, 2020:
If you’ve watched this show at all, you would know Dr. K does support people owning exotic animals, just not all animals. Some animals are not meant to be kept in captivity, whereas you can absolutely keep others. The one example you gave about fennec foxes? Dr. K made some really great points. Despite her not agreeing with the keeping of fennec foxes and later on Lynxes in captivity, she still treated the animals to the best of her ability because she cares about the animals. She doesn’t turn any exotic creature away. She owns several exotic creatures. Maybe the author of this post should stop trying to slander an amazing exotics vet which could be discouraging people from taking their animals in to get medical treatment. You’ve got nothing better to do? Why don’t you write some stories on the fact that even though there are many proven effective vaccines that work on foxes, the US is lazy and hasn’t done any “official” testing? Write a story on Vadar, the fox and what happened to him. Maybe it’ll inspire people to contact their governments and create a change, rather than spewing hate and slander on a wonderful person.
Captain Clutch on February 23, 2020:
I'm greatly enjoying seeing OP getting dabbed on in the comments here
mxddiecampbell on December 17, 2019:
You apparently have a bachelor’s degree in vet services yet completely support the idiotic exotic animal trade. People like Dr. K discourage people from owning these types of exotic animals because people will buy them because they think they’re cute or would be cute pets rather than research them and actually provide proper care for them. She makes completely valid points.
Birdie Noon on December 07, 2019:
Seriously, you’ve studied veterinary technology & you think “exotic pets” doesn’t include the usual rabbits, guinea pigs, & birds? Everyone who works in the industry knows this. An exotics vet treats animals other than dogs & cats (under the purview of regular small animal vets) or large animals/livestock (under the purview of large animal vets). She makes very valid points about animals that have no business being kept as pets.
Max on December 05, 2019:
I think my eyes about rolled out of my skull reading this nonsense. If you're done embarrassing yourself up there, get down off that sad soapbox and try working on your comprehension skills. Unless you didn't actually watch the show, which I highly suspect, seeing as you can't pull a single accurate example backing up your "oh woe is me Dr K came into my house and made fun of me because I want to have an exotic animal" routine out of your ass.
As an exotic pet owner, there are ABSOLUTLEY animals that should not be owned as pets. Unless you have the massive amount of room and funds to properly take care of an exotic animal (and by this I mean actual quality life, not just having its basic needs met) you are being an irresponsible, neglectful, and abusive pet owner.
If you bothered to actually watch the show you'd know you left out a large portion of the quotes from Dr. K and Dr. T about their views on wild animals as pets, though I suspect you left the rest of the quotes out because it suited your needs for your wildly childish attempt at journalism.
Dr. K and Dr. T do not shame their patients and they say as much on the show. Their purpose for questioning and cautioning others about owning wild animals as pets is to make sure some idiot like you doesn't go out and drop 10k on a monkey because it seemed like it would be cool with no actual regards to the animal's safety, quality of life, or considering that some of these animals have extremely high social needs and by keeping a monkey in your house you're depriving it of crucial things that can't be replicated in your living room.
Is every single wild animal exotic pet owner a neglectful moron? No. And no one on the show ever says anything like that. The doctors want the best possible care for all the animals they see, and they know how connected owners are to their pets. It is their responsibility, however, as exotic veterinarians to make sure the people watching their show fully understand what it means to take on an exotic pet. Which is exactly what they what both doctors express in the show.
And one last bit of advice: if a trained medical professional who specializes in exotic animals says that certain animals shouldn't be kept as pets- Wow! They're probably right! Because they've had over a decade of schooling to help them form this opinion. You sitting on your ass jeering at the tv because you think having a kangaroo should be your god given right is just a LITTLE less impressive as a credential.
Jose on December 04, 2019:
L on December 04, 2019:
You're just seeking for attention
cas on October 21, 2019:
DR K is amazing and does a great job how she deals with idiotic, selfish pet owners!!! So many pets suffer greatly and many have died because people are so selfish they don't seek help prior to taking an exotic pet. Many do not have a fricken clue how to properly care for animals nor do they care.. How many monkeys have died because of contacting human viruses?? How many grossly obese pets suffer because they do not get the appropriate diets??? Some of these episodes are hard to watch because of the ignorance. People should not be able to buy many of these pets and most of the others there should be mandatory training! If you truely love the animal you want to buy , that shouldn't be a problem. What responsible pet owner would not want to know how to properly care for the pet?????????
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on August 11, 2019:
Luka: Any exotic pet owner that wants exotic pets banned is a fool. Please re-read this quote
"I don’t promote that they stay in the pet trade"
So do you agree? Then stop being such a hypocrite and give up your pets.
Luka on August 01, 2019:
Yeah, sorry. I own exotic pets, but I also felt nothing Dr.K said here was wrong. If she were my vet, I'd continue seeing her because she *cares* about these animals. She cares enough to show some concern that something that has such critical care requirements is in captivity when the average person may or may not be able to give them 100% what they need.
I agree with her.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 29, 2019:
Danielle Steadman, I'm not an idiot just because you aren't smart enough to make decisions that align with your personal values. I don't buy exotic pets and have the audacity to think myself superior to another who does the same because as I own them, I believe I shouldn't. That doesn't make any sense and it shows why you are so hopelessly confused.
Danielle Steadman on May 29, 2019:
Not worth replying to really but since you had nothing better to do than to degrade a wonderful, caring, loving Vet such as Dr. K & Dr. T then I’ll do the same to you. I own a few exotic pets but I do believe that they & that most are better off in the wild. I hv them because they were unfortunate enough to find themselves in the exotic trade market, in my case they were born into it and I hope that I saved them from someone like you. I have the God given sense to know they should be in the wild but can’t be because someone decided they should be in their home. But I know they are still very much a wild animal & respect that. I also believe that people like you should absolutely NOT own any pets... exotic, domestic or stuffed!!! Why? Because you are obviously an idiot. And I find it funny that you took remarks made by Dr K & Dr. T and made them to suit your needs. Your an insult to anyone who truly cares about exotic animals. Actually you’re an insult period. As I said a complete idiot!
Teressa on May 12, 2019:
I happen to think anyone that thinks ripping a baby from their poached dead mothers arms is ok just to own one of these animals a lot of these animals are on endangered lists because of the illegal pet trade dr k is more than right for saying that some of these animals are not good pets to own how dare you you and many others are why she is in business to try and save these poor animals from owners that are to stupid to own them and don't take proper care of them like the monkeys that were fed pasta and cheese and also wanted her to pull his canines.so stop spreading your stupid nonsense take look at look at your self what your supporting is cruel to these poor animals taken away to soon watched their mothers killed or their arms hacked off and left for dead just to get to the baby to sell for money
Florri Beckley on May 07, 2019:
I watch this show religiously with my family. I have often heard Dr K say ( in a positive way) that some exotic animals should not live in people’s homes. They are taken at an early age from their mothers for the exotic pet trade industry and sold because people want what they want! ( this makes me crazy!)
Dr K cares for these exotics when main stream vets will not. They need care as long as this pet trade exists
I admire her and although she doesn’t entirely agree with these owners on their choice of pet, she makes sure they are well cared for with diet, education and medical care
Tiffany on May 06, 2019:
I can't believe I read half of this article. Absolutely ridiculous post. It's a good thing they're telling people some of these animals do not make good pets! Some people may see them on TV and think theyre easy to handle and in reality, they're not. They are acting in the best interest of the animal. Not everyone could handle a fox or raccoon for examples.
Kristin on May 06, 2019:
I cannot believe the level of ignorance and misinformation that you are spitting out! Dr. K's show is for the purpose of education and awareness. If she was truly doing what you have stated, then how the hell would that benefit her or her business in any way? She is an exotic pet veteranarian! That's what she does. What she doesn't do, is lie to her clients by telling them it's alright to feed them or keep them in such a way that will be harmful to them. And yes, their are some "pets" that really should not be, but Dr. K advocates for her furry patients as she should. And unfortunately for you, you do nothing for your own credibility when you speak with such an uneducated tongue, and with such ignorance. Educate yourself with facts and keep your personal opinion and misdirected emotions to yourself.
Alexandrea on May 01, 2019:
Hahaha hahaha ah. This blog post is so ridiculous.
Robert on March 18, 2019:
You almost sound like you might lose money if Dr K speaks her professional opinion. By the way, what are your credentials? Do you sell exotic pets?
Average at best on March 10, 2019:
Arrogant and condescending. I’ll skip
with a long winded response since your rebuttal will be defensive and void of humility. Telling people to stop seeing her because you don’t agree with her opinion is juvenile. Her skill is what’s most important. Clearly enough people trust her given the fact she has her own TV SHOW.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 01, 2019:
Considering many zoos keep kinkajous outdoors in climates where temperatures easily drop to the 60's at night in the summer and lower in the fall, I'm not sure what's wrong with 72 degrees.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on February 28, 2019:
"Tonight I watched an episode in which she talked to a gentleman about creating a foraging environment for a lemur. What is critical about that? "
Nothing. Did I say it was? I pointed out the very specific comments I have a problem with in this article.
Crystal839 on February 21, 2019:
“A prime example of why anti-exotic pet people are idiots.”
Who the hell do you think you are? Do you realize how idiotic YOU sound?! I can not believe this. I have so many problems with people owning exotic animals, and you just added your name to the list. Don’t bother replying back to me, you’re just going to be completely defensive and stupid. You sound like a spoiled child coming up with these excuses.
“For those of us who have our freedom at stake, this is an important subject. We might not have pets that need saving if people like her get their way.”
She is actively helping and caring for these animals. YOUR FREEDOM IS NOT AT STAKE. SHE IS NOT GOJNG TO TAKE AWAY YOUR ANIMALS. however, there are many, MANY people who really should not own exotic animals, either because they are not educated, or that they can not properly care for the animal. It is not about you. It is about the animal. If it is better for the animal, then you need to realize that and back off.
“It's pretty dumb of you to tell me not to bother responding. Who exactly do you think you are? Why would I even listen to that request? I really should have just removed your comment.”
Wow, what happened to everyone being entitled to their opinions? So you’re allowed to stand on your soapbox and tell us all why Dr. K is wrong and you’re right, but we’re not allowed to say anything against you? Are you really so self absorbed that you can’t let anyone protest against your preaching? Give me one good reason why I should take you seriously. Are you blowing this out of proportion? Yes. Yes. And yes.
Honestly, I dare you to try to come up with a response that won’t make you sound like a spoiled, entitled brat. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
JRZGRL1 on February 18, 2019:
While you are most certainly entitled to your opinion, I think you are way off base. I think the vets on Exotic Animal ER, in particular Dr. K herself, are extremely gentle in their advice to the guardians (I despise the word “owner”) of some of the exotic animals they see in their practice. I personally do NOT think that it is appropriate/reasonable to have a lemur in a private home. I can’t forget the episode where a couple brought in a pair of lemurs that had not gained any weight 4 weeks after birth. I think it would be irresponsible of Dr. K not to address some of these issues. Tonight I watched an episode in which she talked to a gentleman about creating a foraging environment for a lemur. What is critical about that? She cares about the animals she sees. I learn something valuable every time I watch her show. So good luck to you but I CANNOT disagree with you more. Dr. K, Dr. T., the other vets and the staff at Exotic Animal ER are heroes to me.
Paige Davis on December 20, 2018:
The fact is that some pets shouldn’t be in the pet trade and some animals shouldn’t be pets. There IS a difference between dog or cat and something like an iguana. The fact is that exotic animals like iguanas and many others are so widely and easily available that anyone can buy them and that creates a lot in fact most of these animals getting killed, sick, abandoned or going from home to home. When an animal such as an iguana can be found pretty much anywhere and in most pet stores for $15-100 and are typically sold as little babies so that kids or parents are more inclined to buy this results in them being ill cared for because as the reptile grows to enormous sizes, reaches sexual maturity and gets suddenly aggressive, his enclosure and diet and lightinh becomes more expensive then planned. Obviously there’s other animals such as some monkeys, other reptiles, and other mammals and the fact is that these are to widely and easily available to people and most people can’t or won’t be able to take care of them correctly.
Jane on December 05, 2018:
That's too bad that you feel that way. I never got that impression from any of the doctors from that clinic on the show. I've heard her clearly say that the majority of people are not equipped to meet certain exotic pets needs on every level. She's very compassionate as far as treating your pet like a family member. She 'gets it'. She's right, not everyone is equipped. She makes it clear that she will not judge and the animal comes first. There why she's there doing this job. It. Isn't about the money. Nobody becomes a vet for the big bucks. Also, there are breeders that do not treat their animals well and they contribute to the extinction of these lovely creatures we cherish. Not doing your research perpetuates the ugliness in the petrade. Anyways, chill out. Sheesh, there is always someone out there complaining and taking things out of context or to the extreme. Damn annoying.
Nicole White on November 21, 2018:
I think its funny that the writer is afraid to post comments that contradict her written assumptions.
Joan on November 11, 2018:
I love the show but I can not stand Dr. Theilons voice!! Her baby talk is sooooo annoying. I turn the channel when she is on.
NYCAmazon on November 09, 2018:
True pet lovers don't pull out an animals nails as did the Lynx owner. That goes for owners of housecats as well. But let's look at the marmoset owners on the show. The first one blew off the risk to the marmoset of public exposure before year one. The next one got to euthanize her less than year old marmoset after exposing it to herpes. I cried so hard watching that poor baby suffer thru tremors and all the other signs. Than there is the kinkajou episode where the owner kept her "pet" in 72 degree temperature and wondered why it was sick. This show provides unknown information to those who want to own exotics and those who do. I do have a few questions for you.
1.You mentioned Dr. K criticized ownership of the same pets she keeps. To what pets are you referring? She owns a sulcata given to her by a veterinarian who moved to an unsuitable climate and a Blue and Gold who was more than likely a rescue either from her days at the Clinch River Raptor Center or a clinic rehoming. Even if she got Xander from a breeder, so what? What episode did she criticize the ownership of either?
2. I also recall Dr. K stating she doesn't approve of the pets usually 4 weeks old and unweaned being in the pet trade. When did she state she disapproves of the owners? She asked who was selling them not who had them.
HitesMites on October 29, 2018:
It's a scripted TV show people.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on October 07, 2018:
Hunter, I'm getting tired of people bringing up that cat. You don't think domestic dogs and cats have the same issues? Many people resolve to release cats outdoors to kill wildlife instead of figuring out what to do with their pets indoors. Domestic pets have plenty of problems too, but no one starts saying they shouldn't be owned. To say that the lynx is not like a house cat suggests house cats require no enrichment or stimulation, which is false. They ARE the same.
Hunter on October 07, 2018:
She's not she is saying that some people shouldn't own exotics because they dont understand how to take care of exotics. One woman tried to compare a wild cat to a house cat. Her animal was bored and was losing its fur and had behavior issues. Dr K gave her a name of a specialist but the lady refused to call the specialist. The lady came back in a complained how the wild cat wasnt better. She didn't follow instructions and then expected the cat to be better. Dr K said some people are perfect owners of exotics but others shouldn't have.
Joanna on September 30, 2018:
The exotic pet trade is a major contributing factor in many cases to the extinction of species, the destruction and exploitation of many habitats and the suffering of animals around the world. You can justify it by saying they're like family members and that you take great of them, but the brutal truth is that people who buy these animals and fuel the unethical economy that supplies them, are, in most cases, dismissing the well being and happiness of the animal in favor of personal wish fulfillment. If you truly love these animals, then you should leave them where they belong; in there natural environment, which often involves complex familial and social structures that the life of a house pet cannot duplicate. I was leary of the Dr. K show until I heard her and her staff make the very comme6nts that have so offended you. I think she has it exactly right; she's there to help these animals to the best of her ability, but doesnt condone keeping many of the species she treats as pets. If you truly love these animals, donate your time and or money to organizations that are working for the betterment and continuation of these species and their habitats.
Mimi on September 18, 2018:
There have been animal owners that should not own exotic animals. She makes suggestions that they shouldn't own them for the safety of the family and animal. One example is the lady who brought a lynx in. She kept comparing it to a house cat. Its not it will slways be a wild animal. The lynx was bored so it had behavior problems. Dr K gave her the name of a animal behaviorist and told her the lynx waz bored. He needed stimulation. She brought the lynx back saying he still was having issues with it. Turns out she never followed any of Dr Ks suggestions.
Some people just shouldn't own exotics. She states all of the time that certain exotics makd great pets as long as owner is educated, willing to learn, and patient.
Jen on September 16, 2018:
Stop watching if she bothers you so much. Telling people they shouldn’t go to her ....? She saves their lives? Why do u care what she personally thinks... stop being so sensitive. Ok you are a activist for owning exotics...then You shouldn’t tell people to boycott one of the limited vets that care for them and do it WELL... especially in Florida where it is a lot more common to own exotics.... I imagine during the years it took to get her Doctorate in veterinary an medicine and having one for over 20 years she has seen a hell of a lot people that had no business owning the pets they had. Maybe she’s a little jaded? Who cares! She still does important work... Instead of trying to make a name by continually badgering her practice... you set up a charity or idk do something useful with your passion
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on September 04, 2018:
Suzanna Huttenmaier Where did I say she was a bad vet? For those of us who have our freedom at stake, this is an important subject. We might not have pets that need saving if people like her get their way.
Suzanna Huttenmaier on September 03, 2018:
This article is your opinion and all you have to back up your claims is by a few comments on her show. What's important is she a a great vet and if she disagrees with some of the ways theyare being taken care of or that they should be in the wild she's is intitaled to her opinion. That does not mean she is a bad vet. As long as she dance saves my baby i couldn't give a shit what her beliefs are.
SEAN Black on August 11, 2018:
I disagree with you.The exotic pet trade leads to many animals becoming endangered in their native lands.It also becomes a problem where they become invasive.Especially here in Florida where we have more invasives than any other state in this country.There is nothing wrong with expressing her opinion on the subject.
Elizabeth Spais on June 11, 2018:
Yes she should, it is a Vet's responsibilty to educate the owners and to keep the animals best interest first and formost. Many exoctics are ripped away from their mother so all that squealing, yelping, chriping are not sounds of joy, it's shear anxiety trauma, and fear. When these animals are removed from their natural environments they are exposed to a wide variety of disease, as well as introducing disease into their unfamiliar environment. When someone says they have a compassion to live with exotics, I doubt the exotic feels the same way. Or they have a right to own an exotic is selfish. Thank God for a vet who will treat an exoctic and speak for them. Please lets leave our wild animals in their natural environment so we can enjoy nature forever.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 16, 2018:
I'm just as entitled to have a sloth or lemur as you are cockatoo and boas. I don't have any idea why you would think otherwise. I'm not sure who you think you are, but your simple feelings shouldn't control mine, and I don't agree with you. Don't want other exotic pets, don't get them and leave us alone.
Dixon Miller on May 15, 2018:
Just because someone can afford to purchase an animal does not mean they should. As an ER nurse in Florida I see people show up with snake bites from poisonous species that they went out and purchased. Nobody needs a Black Mamba or a Gabon Viper. Dr. K has been my vet for 4 years ( Moluccan Cockatoo, 2 Boas) so I know her well beyond a single statement that offended your sense of entitlement to keep any animal you choose and are able to cover the purchase price. Why anyone would think having a sloth or a lemur in their home is ethically sound escapes me.
Ana on May 07, 2018:
I have to correct my incorrect correction.
My bad. I was thinking of Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialist (GCVS) that was on Nat Geo Wild prior to Hurricane Harvey.
Ana on May 07, 2018:
Just a minor correction. Emergency Vets you referred to I believe to be on Nat Geo Wild. (I loved that show).
I've watched this show and don't really care for it. I would really prefer Dr. Thielen would act a bit more mature.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on April 27, 2018:
Learn to read, I never said I was a vet assistant, though they and receptionists do important work and deriding them for their salary makes you look like a snob and an a$$wipe.
jameswoods1542 on April 26, 2018:
Lol, a vet assistant! 2 whole years at a community college. Vet assists make about $14/hr at best and often double as receptionists for the vet. This one's just a kid looking for attention. I love how she's hiding behind her animal.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on April 17, 2018:
Kelly--your degree is of no use in this topic. Your declarations have no weight.
Kelly on April 16, 2018:
The ideal environment for non-domesticated species is in their natural habitat, i.e. the wild. Capturing and breeding exotic animals is a morally corrupt thing to do- and completely unethical. People who actually love these animals do everything they possibly can to keep them in their native homes- and they certainly do not promote exotic animal ownership which just promotes the pet trade.
I've watched the show, I have a degree in vet med, and all I can do is applaud Dr. K and her comments on this subject.
Sita on April 04, 2018:
Dr K treated a groundhogs penis with medication and surgery..
As almost every man knows, and I found out when my dog's penis would not go inside the precipice apply I called and it will shrink... I had someone hold my dog, and I am plied a cold compress to the extended red nasty looking angry looking penis, after I apply lubricant it works great I do not know why this veterinarian needs to treat the animals with medication and surgery it made me very upset to see how she tortured this little animal
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on February 25, 2018:
Hi Charles, you can message me privately.
Charles on February 24, 2018:
I had worked for Dr. If the writer of this article would like to talk. Respond back. Dr. K is exactly what you say and much more
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on January 28, 2018:
Emily, why don't you read one of the articles I wrote on domestication before telling me I don't know what domestication is and that I'm a fool. Your definition is not accurate, so I guess that makes you the fool: https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/Understanding-...
EmilyEstrella on January 22, 2018:
"Are exotic animals really that different from domesticated ones?" Good lord you are a fool. Do you understand what domestication is? The difference between an exotic animal and a domestic one is the difference between a dog and a wolf. One thrives in the wild and one thrives with humans, based on their breeding for thousands of years. Of course Dr. K isn't gonna turn away a sick animal in need, that does not mean she has to endorse keeping an animal in captivity that is no different than its wild ancestors and was not evolved to thrive in captivity. There are enough ridiculous people like you already without her giving anyone else ideas.
gizziemom on December 03, 2017:
It seems many others have the same opinion as I do....Go figure. I'm sure you think that makes everyone else idiots also and you're somehow the genius that is enlightened. Your comments sounds like you are very young, so we can only hope as you mature, you will grow up and alter your attitude about people and pets and improve your communication skills. In answer to your assumption about dogs & cats, I have no problem fighting against breeders who breed anything other than a working dog/cat (we are not even close to the point where we have to breed for pets, since there are so many homeless pets available) or speaking against dog & cat shows that are based on looks. They're a detriment to what would otherwise be healthy dogs & cats, just check out an English Bulldog or a Persian cat. I also have no problem with vets being outspoken about the fact that not everyone is a good dog or cat owner and no problem with vets being outspoken about the fact that if you can't provide a dog or cat with what it needs, you shouldn't get one. That does not make me defensive and it's the equivalent of what Dr. K says concerning exotics but it has the opposite reaction from you. It seems to make you very, very, very defensive, which is not a good look at all.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on December 03, 2017:
gizziemom I understood your comment just fine, problem is you don't understand it yourself. It was full of loaded assumptions so that you could whine that I am ignoring all the animal's suffering so *I* can be happy. I guess that means you shouldn't enjoy your dogs and cats since millions of them are suffering too. Idiot.
gizziemom on December 02, 2017:
Wow, my comment & it's meaning went way over your head. It's very sad to see someone so self absorbed they can't see the obvious, especially when it contributes to the exotic pet trade, animals who have no say and no protection.
Han on November 08, 2017:
So coming from someone who actually is going to be a veterinarian, what Dr. K is trying to get across is that it is very difficult to find the perfect conditions for exotic animals, and since there are so many illegal purchases of exotics, many people should not own a truly exotic animal because they will not be able to correctly care for that animal and it would live the best life it could, but Dr. K still cares for these animals so she wants to help them as much as possible. She wants the owners of these animals to understand the huge responsibility and challenge it is to create good conditions for these animals. Also by the way you are talking about Dr. K it seems like you have no experience talking about this topic and like you are discrediting someone who has gone through years of schooling and absolutely knows better than you. The exotic pets people have are going to be in captivity anyway, so why not make sure they have a good owner, that is what Dr. K wants people to know.
Cali on November 06, 2017:
This is the worst article I’ve ever written. Consider a new topic. Many things wrong with the evidence gathered.
Drea on October 09, 2017:
Why not leave all the animals in their natural environment. You have foolish humans ripping them away from their natural home environment just to have a pet. How selfish are you huh?
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on September 19, 2017:
gizziemom: Where the hell did I say most exotic pets suffer? So you have to make things up to support your argument? A prime example of why anti-exotic pet people are idiots.
gizziemom on September 16, 2017:
This article and the "author's" comments below it are a perfect example of why exotic animal ownership should be discouraged. Why not just own it and say "Yeah, I know most people can't properly care for exotic pets and will either mistreat them, cause death or torture by mistreatment or lack of proper care, or just abandon them, putting a strain on rescuers, but I don't care because *I* want to own one (some) and *I'm* better than most people, so people should just shut up because my needs are more important than these animals needs and who cares if most exotic pets end up dead or mistreated. *I" think *mine* are fine, so you shouldn't try to save the others by discouraging ownership because then you're inconveniencing *ME*!" That's basically what you're saying. A prime example of WHY exotic animal ownership should be discouraged.
ANon on July 19, 2017:
Not sure why you have the arrogance to say you take into account your opponents' opinions when all you do is condescend to them and threaten to censor out their comments. Awful article written by a selfish, ignorant person.
Jake on June 11, 2017:
One of the worst written articles I've came across.
Robert on June 11, 2017:
I can understand the difference of opinion, but I believe that Dr. K and her staff offer professionally-based opinion based on their training and experience. Further, they appear to have the interest of the pet/animal at heart, while their critics appear to put their own personal self-interest first - i.e. their "right" to own whatever animal they want, in whatever environment, regardless of the consequences - to the ANIMAL - as well as to themselves and other people (remember the chimp that ripped off that woman's face?)! Rationality should trump selfish desire. If someone disagrees with Dr. K., they should simply avoid her practice and go elsewhere. I would guess that there are a lot of people who are willing to listen to, and who respect her position on pet ownership. Would you deny them the right to hear her side of the issue? I understand that sometimes honesty can seem hurtful. Bottom line: be grateful that her practice is there to provide the professional and caring service that it does.
FutureHerpetologist on June 11, 2017:
Ok I would like to say this whole comment thread is quite the doozie. However, Dr.K treats and preforms her veterinary duties the way she prefers. I personally may disagree or agree but, I am not going to go on a 2 year rampage on it. Seriously, this article appeared 2 years ago and people are still beating the quite dead horse.
I mean like give up on this....the author here is blatantly trying to get their point across while the readers are making horrible attempts to "roast" the author. I currently own 2 ferrets and a Big Eyed Treefrog as exotic pets. I come from New York City and it isn't easy to find exotic vets but the vet close by to me except ferrets and my treefrig Teo has never been sick or has had any medical issues. I would prefer to keep it that way as if he may expire; may it be to old age.
To sum this up shortly I would just like to say that Dr.K and her show can be taken by anyone person's opinion. Afterall, there are ton of other vet reality tv shows. Do you hear other people here saying Dora and Friends into the City is promoting a model for girls to look different...so that show is completely unethical to have on Nick Jr. Or Spongebob will make your kids stupid. These are the same type of vibes I am recieving from this thread.
Also I'm getting so much salt from this thread its not even healthy. For you people salt means someone holds little grudges and acts out because of it. This is my opnion and please do excuse any inequities within my post as I am only 12 years old. Thank you for taking the time to read this as my opinion really doesn't matter. I only wish to end the arguing on this thread because, it really is pointless. You guys arfue as id you have nothing better to do like go for a long walk with your pets/ Cook something instead of going to McDonalds/ Excersise/Read a Book/or binge watch a TV series because everyone here.....does not care for what any of you say, they ignore the previous poster and go straight for the author's neck. Bam I layed down my point..now I will procede with moving on in my life
Nicki on June 11, 2017:
No I agree with the veterinarian! Exotics should not be considered
As domesticated animals period. They die due to strange people diets and not they're natural foods or environments. Education is all they are preaching, ,
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on June 03, 2017:
Lynne Johnson: It's pretty dumb of you to tell me not to bother responding. Who exactly do you think you are? Why would I even listen to that request? I really should have just removed your comment. Furthermore, if you hate exotic pet ownership why the hell would you tell me there's no problem here? Of course YOU don't see a problem! It doesn't affect you and your life plus you think it's 'cruel', I'm sure you think nothing of the deformed dogs being pulled around on leashes. I can disagree with someone without having the gall to only see things my way without acknowledging the feelings of my opponent. You don't even understand what I'm complaining about, of course. Dr. K fans sure have a strange way of thinking.
Lynne Johnson on June 03, 2017:
Melissa,I believe you are talking about a non-existent problem. Dr K treats all her patients and their pets (exotic or not) with respect. Some people watching the show might be influenced to go out and get an animal that they have no idea how to care for, one who shouldn't be owned by the public, one who is much better off with their own kind in a natural environment.
I feel even more strongly than Dr K. does about these issues and I admire her for educating her viewers in a calm fashion.
I, myself would not be so sweet about it.
Don't bother responding. You wanted a soap box and you've had it. You need to step down.
Ibagoalie on June 01, 2017:
I'm very opposed to keeping exotic animals, that are endangered in the wild. You are just encouraging further decimation of the species through illegal poaching, etc. Theses animals require a dedeicated owner and environment, especially large animals. The majority of owners can't provide enormous spaces to roam, etc. with so many homeless cats and dogs, why can't you put yor selfish needs aside (yes, that is what it is) and give them a loving home. Based on the past comments, I'm expecting you to just call me names and tell me I'mstupid...how about surprising me with an articulate informed reply?
Christy Vachon on April 30, 2017:
My 5 yr old granddaughter and I LOVE this show and I don't have any idea why you are saying this. She is a very caring and loving vet.
ConArdist on April 25, 2017:
This is an absurd argument. Seems like a great vet, and some really shoukdh't. I've owned either 18 or 19 G-Pigs Great critters. But most animals in the world do NOT do well in captivity.
Me on October 22, 2016:
I suppose it comes down to responsible pet ownership whatever the animal may be. There wouldn't be a huge python issue in Florida killing so many birds if pet owners were responsible. My MD tells me things I need to here too.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on October 11, 2016:
Scott Roche: Dr. K is a bird owner herself. There's nothing wrong with educating owners but did she tell you your birds don't belong in captivity? Probably not. I will not be backing off so you can have a seat.
Scott Roche on September 25, 2016:
Mr. Timblin, thank you for your service to our country. I too am a veteran and it's folks like you and I that have fought for the rights of others, including the right to be ignorant. Unfortunately the creator of this thread only knows what they see on TV. Nowhere in anything the thread creator has written has that person stated that they had taken an exotic pet to Dr. Kelleher. What the creator of this thread doesn't understand is that of the hundreds of species of exotic animals most owners learn by doing and for myself, I've learned the hard way and I must say I am more than glad that Dr. K. was blunt with me. I wish I would have discovered her at the beginning. I currently have to golden conures, what I believe to the most difficult of birds to have. Both were born with defects and I didn't know that until it was too late and I fell in love with them. I have no children and these two birds are my children. Not unlike a parent with a human child and yes I have towed with a few, doctors some times have to be brutally honest in order to treat those under their care. So my comment to the creator of this thread. Back off. She has taken the time and commitment to educate me on the care of my exotic pets. My pets are thriving. I am a much better pet owner for it. Where your anger should be directed is to the morons in the pet trade that are only in it for the sale and do not educate the potential pet owner of the tasking that they are about to under take. AND just for the record Dr. Kelleher performed life saving surgery on one of my birds to correct a birth defect and on the other when it was attached by a feral (abandoned) pussy cat. Dr. K is quite correct there are some of US who shouldn't own an exotic pet and if we must have an exotic pet at least not be allowed to have one until WE are educated first.
elessar007 on August 30, 2016:
The disconnect seems to be that providing a suitable living environment (habitat, food/water, stimuli, protection, vet care, etc.) is possible for a great many species of animals, but the failure rate for providing that environment is disproportionately higher when dealing with exotics. In other words, more owners in relation to the total of exotic owners fail than for non-exotics. That makes it harder for the general populace to accept exotics the way they accept cats and dogs. So they are categorized as "exotic" and treated differently.
Many pet owners are seeking to have a companion relationship with their pet which is not always appropriate or using a cat/dog owner dynamic as a template with minimal modification for their exotic and it is easy to see how humans will easily fail on some level at providing the proper living environment and care for an exotic pet. Unfortunately, those exotic owners who do provide the proper environment fight an uphill battle because of the ones who fail.
I believe Dr. K simply wants the best for ALL animals, not just her patients. If a knowledgeable person takes a position that a certain species is better left out of the exotic pet trade, it stands to reason that someone with the best interests of the species at heart wouldn't take that position frivolously. They might not be right if you bring it down to the level of an individual case but as a generalization, I am inclined to defer to the judgment of a trained veterinarian rather than an owner.
An owner, we'll call her Jane Doe, is arguing for her right to have an exotic pet whereas the opposition isn't arguing against Jane Doe. Typically, in a scenario w/o ulterior motives, they are arguing on behalf of the species under the belief that the chances of the individual animals will wind up with owners that fail in some way to provide the aforementioned 'suitable environment' or that the animal presents a danger of some sort. That is a very simplified breakdown but I think it's helpful in so far as seeing where Dr. K's comments are coming from. She is concerned with the animals well-being, both on the individual level represented by her patients and in the broader context as a species, and not necessarily acting as a lobbyist for exotic pet owners. Is that a failure on her part? Perhaps. But in my view, it would be a failure of a secondary objective in the course of fulfilling her primary objective; the proper care of her patients and the well-being of animals in general.
I expect there will be those who disagree with my views. That's well and good as discussion of the issues is encouraged. I only ask that comments & opinions be on topic and not about me.
Mark Timblin on August 16, 2016:
People are gonna hate no matter what. While I have no exotic pets I have seen enough in my 60 years on this earth to know that while I would like to have a small reptile or something, I in good faith know I cannot. As a disabled vet a 100% disabled vet at that, its hard enough caring for our 2 dogs and 2 cats.
Personally while I don't approve of owning some exotic pets, like lions,tigers, any other big cat, any of the monkeys, chimps,etc. They belong in the wild, not in a cage in someone's home, or to have free run of an owners home. Snake, especially the constrictors, they should not be, they are not a native species, send them back to where they belong or put them down, one or the other. There have been too many kids and even some adults killed or permanently maimed by these large unnatural predators. If you wanna label me a hater, fine by me, I'm ok with some species of exotics, but others should not even be here period. If that makes me a hater then....it is what it is. Enjoy life for it is far far too short.
ManNewt on August 03, 2016:
Well Mr. Dickens, I have a question. What if suffering is an illusion made by the human mind, to delude themselves causing them to act "compassionate" resulting the expansion of ego that is somehow related with the endocrine system? You might think that every animal in captivity is suffering just so you can tend your ego non-stop as you act like some sort of saint for animals.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on August 03, 2016:
Dr. Dickens: I feel sorry for all of your clients whom you most likely ripped off with your pseudo-scientific generalizations. First, you fail to even specify which 'exotic' animals you are referring to, always a tell-tale sign of zealot. As a veterinarian, exotic animals always pertain to animals that aren't dogs and cats. Do your ramblings include bunnies, hamsters, and guinea pigs? Many cortisol and behavioral studies have been done but we haven't scratched the surface for you to purport all non-dogs and cats suffer. We do not fully understand if the 'suffering' suggested by elevated cortisol is like that of unbearable torture or on the level of a stressful day at the office. If it is so difficult to recognize suffering how exactly are you able to mind-read every animal you've seen in your practice? Most 'wild type' animals will NOT breed or survive very long if kept under an unacceptable amount of stress. I think every zoo should reject your simple-minded services. Unfortunately there are many vets like you running rampant; some people excel at taking tests but fail at basic critical thinking. Thank you for the heads up so I can avoid your name like the plague if you're ever in my neck of the woods.
Dr Greg Dickens on August 02, 2016:
Hello all reading, my name is Greg Dickens, I'm a wildlife and exotic animal veterinarian from the UK. I have worked in zoos in the UK and US, exotic practice in the UK and wildlife parks in central and southern Africa.
To add information to the above thread, I'd like to make four points:
1, WILD-TYPE or EXOTIC ANIMALS IN CAPTIVITY SUFFER. - Whether humans can or cannot provide a suitable habitat for non-domesticated species is not the point: 99% of the time, we don't. Therefore, having not been bred to deal with this, the animals suffer. I have not seen a single exotic/wild-type animal in captivity that is not suffering in some way due to its captivity.
2. EVEN IF WE CANNOT RECOGNISE IT AS SUFFERING - IT IS THERE - Humans are built to be able to spot unhappiness in humans, dogs and maybe monkeys. We are literally incapable of easily spotting suffering in other groups of animals.
3. THIS IS NOT IN DISPUTE. - The keeping of these wild animals is becoming illegal in many other countries. This is partially from a human safety point of view, but mostly from an animal welfare point of view. The unavoidable increased suffering of non-domesticated animals is recognised by behavioural studies and cortisol readings, and is being translated into law.
4 - IT IS UP TO YOU - Whether you think your enjoyment or status of having a non-domesticated species pet is worth this increased suffering is up to you. And Ms. Melissa A Smith would appear to suggest that it is completely acceptable to her.
I encourage readers to make up their own minds.
Dr Greg Dickens MA VetMB (CANTAB) MRCVS
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 27, 2016:
You've obviously never read any of my rebuttals to all your typical ignorant arguments.
Hudahek Izzy on July 24, 2016:
I don't like exotic pets for the same reason I don't like the breeding industry. It's catering to fashion and finance while countless unwanted conventional pets cannot find homes. Sorry if that comes off as naive but if we are claiming to love the animals we take in as pets we really don't have to add to the pet pool while SPCAs struggle to keep from euthanizing so many animals.
KK on July 17, 2016:
You have absolutely no right to write half of what you say in this article, you can tell you have no idea what you are talking about. FUCK the owners. Monkeys and lynx did not ask to be taken from their homes and it is PROVEN that they ABSOLUTELY DO NOT thrive in captivity, therefore THEY SHOULD NOT BE PETS. they deserve to live free. And no that is not the same as owning a cat or dog you idiot, those are domesticated animals that could not live on their own. Exotic animals are NOT cats and dogs and I don't give a rats as if it hurts your feelings to hear that your pet would be happier in the wild, you should have known that if you did the research you had to have done to own the animal in the first place. She should DEFINITLY say those things on tv so that other prospective buyers think twice about taking these beautiful animals from their homes and families. If you really think that a humans feelings matter more than these animals LIVES than basically fuck you.
People think "oh, it's cute I have to buy one" not thinking twice about what the animal may want. If you truly love animals than admire them from afar, don't steal them from their homes. You should be ashamed of yourself for writing this.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 04, 2016:
"Maybe if you got the education Dr K did, done the volunteer work & the many years in private practice she's done to base her opinions on exotic pet ownership you too could be on TV & be watched by millions,"
Oh look, more incoherently-structured garble from another 'buddy' of Dr.K. I highly doubt any amount of volunteer work would shrivel my brain to point of me suggesting that an animal from the desert should not live outside of it. Anyone saying that should remember where domesticated cats and hamsters originate.
GinaR on July 04, 2016:
One of your first reasons for an exotic pet owner not doing business with Dr K-" have you ever taken a family member to a local physician who smiles and treats you like a valued customer & then turn around & then turn around & say your family member has no business living with you on national tv"? If one of my parents had Alzheimer's disease & I took them to a local Dr& he or she explained that it might be better for my parent to be placed in a care facility better equipped to give my parent the best living conditions possible would I write a blog telling other people in a similar situation " it's imperative you locate another Dr ASAP" No I wouldn't. Would I continue using the Dr after I listened to their reasons for telling me this? Yes I would, if like Dr I they were basing their guidance on their experiences, & their obvious compassion for the welfare of my parent.
You use the word "logic". "Dr K's comments are based on rampant bad logic about how animals live." Dr K has taken exotic pet criticism to a pitiful new level, she does so with " extravagantly failed logic". Oh let's not forget the " failed logic " you say was Dr K's written comment on this article". I will take Dr K & others like her, i e someone not just sitting at a computer. The people who do the work required to care for these animals when the people with the "passion" to live with them can no longer do so. You say you did a " quick Google search on fennic foxes". And I'm suupposed to take you seriously in your pro exotic pet ownership rants? No thanks. When Dr K commented that Florida climate isn't the best for fennic foxes you said most stay kept indoors!"How do you know? You've done the research necessary to make that statement? And according to you it's ok for people to profit from the pet trade, no matter what the circumstances, but you comment more than once on Dr K " collecting large sums of $" from her clients. If she didn't care about the welfare of the animals she treats she would not give her opinions on exotic pet ownership & the pet trade & encourage people to own these pets to as you say to fulfill your "passion" to do so. That has to be the kind of vet you've found to care for your pets- only in it for the money otherwise the last of your many ignorant quotes "exotic pet owners should certainly not tolerate any contributions to anti exotic pet owner sentiment from people they employ to help with pets especially if televised". Maybe if you got the education Dr K did, done the volunteer work & the many years in private practice she's done to base her opinions on exotic pet ownership you too could be on TV & be watched by millions, instead of your " soapboxie" blog that I won't waste my time reading again.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 03, 2016:
Hey "Watching it now...", I have no doubt you probably aren't resourceful enough to handle an exotic pet, and barely a cat, that doesn't mean no one else should. Your comment is about as moronic as coming down on someone for saying horses can be pets, although it might be OK if you keep the horses outside, and then to tell them to get a hobby and job for writing about horses. It is always recommended to have an outdoor enclosure for "big" (actually medium) sized cats. Your opinion is worthless.
Watching it now... on July 02, 2016:
To be honest, I don't own exotic pets. I own three cats and a Corgi. My Corgi Luna loves watching this show, and we are watching the Gloves Off! episodes right now. I think that her and her staff are the type of people that I would take my animals to if I could. That being said, her "disparaging" comments aren't that. These animals shouldn't be in captivity. I am in whole agreement that most of these owners do anything and everything for their pets, and are fabulous at it. And Dr. K SAYS that. After watching her show, I've learned about the massive needs of these pets, and know that I myself would not be a good owner for them. As for the woman with the lynx. I watched that entire episode more than once. Having a big cat living in your home is DANGEROUS. My 10 pound domestic short hair can bite hard enough to cause me pain and draw blood. Her canines are almost half an inch long. I can't even imagine what type of damage could be done by that cat. But notice I said "in your home". If it had an outdoor enclosure, then by all means, enjoy your pet. Her job as a veterinarian is to do the best for these animals. She has a platform to prevent inexperienced owners from getting these animals and potentially hurting them, and she is using it. I respect her for that. She's doing her job. You're being ridiculous, and to be totally honest, it sounds as if you have nothing better to do than criticize a woman and those who work with her. It sounds as though you need a hobby. Or a profession. You can come back at me with all the negativity in the world, and act as childish as you want, and delete this because it goes against your stupidity, but seriously. Go get a job, take up knitting, play with your pets. But just get off the computer. It'll do us all a favor.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on June 26, 2016:
"So, let me "get this"..... to hell with whats right or fair for the animal, as long as YOU are happy right?"
The deeper issue here is that you are either in one camp or the other: Complete animal liberation where no animal products are consumed, no pets are owned, and nothing is built or used that might compromise an animal's welfare or environment, such as a car or house. The other consists of animal use where there is an attempted standard of humane treatment with the possible exception of essential things like life-saving treatment for humans.
If you are not a follower of the former extremism, then you are simply a bigot, who feels I need to 'justify' keeping certain pets or I shouldn't do it. It wouldn't surprise me at all if you own or approve of suffering pugs and bulldogs while I have to show not just adequate welfare but BENEFIT for the animals I'm keeping. I'm essentially told by people who enjoy eating burgers, exotic pet keeping needs justification before it can be approved by them. Unlike many zoos I'm unafraid to benefit myself with animal use in some unpopular way without trying to claim I'm 'conserving the species' and other BS. I look at exotic pet keeping through a non-bigotry lens without the loaded question of it being inherently cruel. I'm never going to respond to any questions that suggest I need to 'compensate' for what I'm doing as long as dog and cat owners don't have to. That is just a loaded question where I would be admitting keeping pets is wrong. This might be hard for you to understand.
You have the audacity to present your rant as a plead for me to retract my valid arguments? I'll comply to your request when the U.S. places a Federal ban on states restricting completely harmless species as pets (i.e. never).
You're lucky that I don't delete your comment and write "Dr. K Continues to Disparage Clients Part 2, Redux".
Bderbes on June 25, 2016:
It is unbelievable to me that you continue to waste your time arguing such ignorance. I could not agree with "Ms. A" more, as she did a wonderful job addressing your pathetic arguments! That being said, I will not waste any time with the same arguments or statements (for the most part)!
Have you taken notice to the fact that about 95% of the people who have commented here disagree with your ignorant, close minded article? And lets not even consider all the comments you delete. Do you really still think you have a valid argument? Do you think that what you are doing to Dr. K, her reputation and her business, is any different than the comments she makes about her clients and their decision to keep exotics? As it has been pointed out several times now, it seems the hypocrisy is all yours!
I am unbelievably overwhelmed by the selfish ignorance in your statement,
"Get this, it doesn't need to be 'beneficial' it's just something I feel like doing. My freedom isn't contingent on whether or not you arbitrarily decide something must have a benefit."
So, let me "get this"..... to hell with whats right or fair for the animal, as long as YOU are happy right? Am I understanding you? Or are you going to back peddle and say thats not what you truly meant?
You are the type of exotic pet owner/ advocate that rational human beings oppose of and voice their opinions about!!!
Is there a place for exotics in captivity and in households? Absolutely! But NOT because its "what I feel like doing"!
"Because its what I feel like doing" is what fuels the pet trade!
What you are doing, and the points you are arguing, is just about as inhumane as someone removing you from your home, the life you are used to, the environment you thrive in, your family and friends and placing you in an underground cellar for the rest of your life, whether you like it or not, for their own benefit!
Although I truly believe that scenario may be best for all of us, I would voice my opposition for your pitiful soul as well!
I said I would not waste any time reciting any statements previously made, but I think this is one that needs to be driven into your thick head....
Dr. K is not saying "all exotic pet owners should be damned to hell.... except myself" she is simply saying that, in her opinion, many exotic animals will have a better quality of life in their native habitat, NOT because it becomes "something you feel like doing"!!
Im sure there would be some other opinionated nimwit on here claiming "Dr. K is promoting the exotic pet trade" had some, or all, of her statements been left out!
Heres the way I see it, if her comments stopped one single person from doing a google search for a "marmoset importer" just because they thought that one they saw on the show was so cute and cuddly, and thats just what they felt like doing..... It was WELL worth it! Even if it flips your little boat!
I cannot remember coming across such ignorance that I felt compelled to read 40+ comments and sign up for an account just so I could get all this off my chest but you were definitely successful at that. All I can do is beg that you find a different hobby! Seems you are pretty good at being WRONG so at least you do have that going for you. But please, please stop writing articles trying to convince people that we should adopt your opinions over someone like Dr. K. I would take 1000 "Dr. K minded people" over 1 of you and it doesnt appear that I am the only one that feels this way either!
Please, Im literally begging you to forfeit your rights to post these ridiculous articles and your opinions.... please?!
Avid Exotic Owner on June 05, 2016:
Because she saves lives you airhead. Why else go to a Dr. ?
Does your head hurt from banging it on the wall so often?
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on June 05, 2016:
Even in the interviews she speaks badly of people keeping exotic pets. She must be aware of all the absurd bans that are brewing everywhere with Florida (where she resides) remaining as one of the few states that allows a reasonable number of species (with permits). It's obvious where she stands and I would be very confused as to why anyone interested in keeping real exotics would give her money.
Midwestern mom on June 04, 2016:
I've seen these episodes and I did not take her comments as berating her client. It seemed more like a general comment that exotics live better in their natural environments. And let's not forget that this is a TV show. Some statements may be scripted to make the ratings better. I would take the statements with a grain of salt, knowing that sometimes reality tv shows are partially scripted. Believing everything you hear on tv or read online as the absolute truth isn't realistic. TV conversations get cut, moved, placed in a different order, etc. to make a better show. My belief is, if you know a person or business because you have been there, then you have the right to comment on them or their business. If you only know what you saw on tv, online, etc, then you should keep your opinions to your self. Like my mother taught me, if you don't have anything good to say, then don't say anything at all.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on November 14, 2015:
Just give up Ms. A. You don't understand anything that's being told to you and you clearly don't want to. If you don't want to stop commenting I shall help you.
Ms. A on November 14, 2015:
So in short your argument comes down to, " shut up and let me do what I want to do because I like keeping cool animals and I don't want to think about the consequences." Nice job you whiny imbecile. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Unlike what was on the show, people DO keep those types of animals and Dr. K is aware that lynxes are just the tip of the iceberg. So wake up and realize the possible dangers. Even if YOU yourself are experienced, doesn't mean everyone is. Just like I shouldn't have the control to arbitrarily decide to ban every animal, you should not be allowed to make all animals legal just because "well I can and I want to." Again Dr. K is just trying to keep random people from buying exotics on impulse. Skateboarders don't watch a skateboard video with the warning "don't try this at home" and whine about how the video is bashing all skateboard enthusiasts everywhere. there are multiple cases of exotic animals being kept in poor conditions and turning on their owners. You are not the only one concerned in this (as much as you would like to think so). Grow up.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on November 14, 2015:
"There is a HUGE difference in owning as an example a White's tree frog, a fire belly toad, a Ball Python, Red Tail Boa(I've owned all of the above) as opposed to owning a Fennec fox, a Wolf, a Lynx the list goes on.
Purchasing a guinea pig from a reputable source is a far cry from purchasing a fox, Lemur, Cobra or Tiger from some very questionable source.."
NO there is not. And I actually have the ability to explain why I am right, other than just saying 'no there is not a difference', which is the extent of your comment. Your comments are appalling. Reptiles have some serious issues in captivity. Even though their care is relatively straight-forward, many people do not do the minimum for them to live past a year. Guinea pigs are often placed in cages that are too small and without a companion.
What is the difference between frogs and guinea pigs and foxes and lynxes? The difference is you don't give a crap about the former. You perceive them as 'dumb' or less capable of potentially suffering the effects of bad captivity than the other. All are formerly residents of the 'wild', even when domesticated. You cannot domesticate out of an animal the need for basic welfare, which may or may not be provided by the owner. All of these animals have brains and some level of consciousness. I'm aware of some welfarists, like Clifford Warwick, who are staunchly against keeping reptiles in captivity. They would look at YOU with the same disdain that I get for having a spotted genet. Snakes living in pull out drawers or aquariums they can't fully stretch out in, and guinea pigs locked up alone with minimal time out of the cage; There are issues with ALL of these exotic animals that are not unique from each other at all. One can only speculate without extensive research whether or not these animals are truly 'OK'. This even goes for domesticated cats. Dogs, cats, fennec foxes, budgies, pot-bellied pigs...there is NO "huge difference".
Nice try suggesting that exotic pets come from shady dealers. You have no clue where I or the Dr.K clients' got their pets from. That's just your prejudiced view of owners who have animals you don't care to own. You should be utterly ashamed of yourself. Your damn frogs and snakes can come from shady breeders/brokers just as exotics or dogs can. There were NO tigers or cobras on the show. Stop it with the damn fiction to prove your point.
"when my Red Tail Boa and my Ball Python became to large they were give to a local reptile center. I was a sensible, compassionate and commons sense pet owner"
!?! You're coming on here claiming to be an ethical pet owner when you purchased animals you were not prepared to care for for their entire lives? You've got to be the biggest, silliest, saddest hypocrite to post on my pages. Good job. You've given overpopulated animals away to a rescue center and have effectively removed a spot that another desperate pet owner could have used if they needed to re-home their animals. Balls and boas are produced like crazy. I loathe it when people do what you do. You are pretty much the last person I'd expect a lecture from. A 'fellow' exotic pet owner and a bad one. Another winner in favor of Dr. K!
Deb Enck on November 14, 2015:
I read these irrefutable arguments with an eye to common sense and logic. None of which were present. While it is true we've all owned so-called "exotic" pets. There is a HUGE difference in owning as an example a White's tree frog, a fire belly toad, a Ball Python, Red Tail Boa(I've owned all of the above) as opposed to owning a Fennec fox, a Wolf, a Lynx the list goes on..All of my aforementioned animals were obtained ethically and they lived full healthy lives, when my Red Tail Boa and my Ball Python became to large they were give to a local reptile center. I was a sensible, compassionate and commons sense pet owner. My argument is I'm deeply concerned about those exotic pet owners who are suddenly overwhelmed by what they have adopted. Exotic pet owners are the reason that Florida's wildlife is critically threatened by the release of Pythons, Anacondas, Boas, Lion fish and the list goes on..I love Dr. K because I've always felt she is supportive, caring, genuine and quite aware of exotics and the issues involved. I have been watching the show for some time and my feeling is she is very supportive of anyone who is a responsible exotic pet owner. She questions as do I the ownership of things like Lynxes and obviously feral animals, there are questions on how these creatures were obtained. Dr. K is also one person who I've never heard calling for the ban on exotics. The irrefutable arguments do not hold up, it self serving and reaching to say that everyone has owned an "exotic pet." Purchasing a guinea pig from a reputable source is a far cry from purchasing a fox, Lemur, Cobra or Tiger from some very questionable source..Climb down off your soapbox Melissa Smith, your argument is full of holes and your so obviously misinformed about everything that is borders on the ridiculous. Dr. K is a gift to all the"exotics" who come into her practice. It would appear that she is just asking some real, common sense and caring questions about the animals that are coming into her practice..I applaud her and support her right to express her opinions. If the people that bring their animals to her are offended, I've never heard them express it..
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on November 14, 2015:
"In short, get off your high horse and realize that not everyone is out to get you or the various wild animals you hoard in your back bedroom."
OK, the problem here is your rampant ignorance. The reason for the -existence- of this blog is for the extremely extensive and never-ending bans against exotic pets. I even state at the end of this article the reason for my extreme reaction to Dr. K's little misguided opinions. I provide hand-typed quotes from the show. If you aren't willing to get the facts, what the heck are you doing here? You're just wasting my time. K flat out states she doesn't want exotic animals in the pet trade on TV. She is a threat to her client's livelihoods, I just thought they might want to know before they spend $3000 with her.
"Maybe you are unaware, but gaboon pit vipers or at least their poisonous kin are very lucrative in the exotic pet trade"
Can't you read? I said most people with venomous reptiles know the risks. No one on Dr.K did anything remotely close to your ludicrous example. That's no different from me making up an example of someone intentionally ramming a truck into preschool as an example to show why letting people drive is stupid. If K wants to educate people, she needs to stick to the facts. I don't need to hear her say the exotic pet trade is terrible. Tell us what lemurs need to thrive, not your unwanted opinion. And, this article is about season 1, the lynx is season 2. Can you come up with one valid reason to justify her comments about the fennec fox? Of course not.
"I'm not sure why or how you could think keeping big cats or whales in captivity is okay or beneficial in any way, but I guess that just proves how ignorant you are."
Get this, it doesn't need to be 'beneficial' it's just something I feel like doing. My freedom isn't contingent on whether or not you arbitrarily decide something must have a benefit. It really is that simple. You are still going by the 'weird pet = bad' ignorance. You'll have to explain why the heck my pets are any different from yours. My pet keeping certainly doesn't approach the damage that many cat and dog owners do to the environment and society.
"youre trying to scare others away from watching precisely by making them worry that Dr. K promotes banning exotics."
She does. Anyone in the 'biz' (obviously not you) knows how controversial exotic pets are. Any day now, I might read that my county or state created an ordinance that might make me have to find a new home for my animals. Maybe that needs to happen to you to make you wake up.
Ms. A on November 13, 2015:
Maybe you are unaware, but gaboon pit vipers or at least their poisonous kin are very lucrative in the exotic pet trade so no, they are not akin to the face huggers from Aliens or extinct dinosaurs. Secondly, I watched the show, and she simply states that she does not condone people keeping lynxes as pets, but that she still wants to give them the best medical care possible. Nowhere does she attempt to take the Lynx away, or promote making them illegal, she says only that she would not advise the general public to keep one. I think that's probably fair; most people don't have the resources or knowledge base to keep such pets healthy both mentally or physically. Unlike what you claim, lynxes are not easy to care for- they are like any other big cat, and treating them like a domestic cat is unfair and unhealthy.
If she is on TV, she needs to take into account that a variety of people will be viewing, not just "professional" exotic owners such as yourself. You act so offended by her comments but they were actually aimed at making sure random people watching her show do not decide to impulsively buy a lemur. Wouldn't you agree that's a good move? After all, you wouldn't want some simpleton to give you a bad rep right? It's odd that you got so angry at her comments- perhaps she reopened a wound referring your own inadequancies? If you're such a competent owner, why do you let such people irritate you so much? Why do you allow them to get under your skin? Unless of course, they are speaking the truth and it pops your little bubble of denial. Also, you seem to enjoy calling me a simpleton when in fact, you're the one blindly promoting propaganda. Does demeaning my intelligence make you feel powerful? Do you think you can win the argument simply by calling me the grown up version of a butt face? I'm not sure why or how you could think keeping big cats or whales in captivity is okay or beneficial in any way, but I guess that just proves how ignorant you are. You claim any animal should be able to be held in captivity regardless of species, yet tell me I'm stupid and unreasonable for mentioning a gaboon pit viper. I mean, really, who are you to decide what is "reasonable." You told some other commenter that if they owned "real exotics" they'd understand, and now you're telling me my example of an exotic is unreasonable. So only the pets you own are okay? I laughed when you called her self-righteous as you are perhaps the pinacle of self righteousness and arrogance. As for your accusation that I'm attempting to fear monger other ignorant people, you literally say "meet Doctor K, she doesn't approve of your pets!" How much more fear monger-y can you get lady? youre trying to scare others away from watching precisely by making them worry that Dr. K promotes banning exotics. So that makes you a giant hypocrite.
In short, get off your high horse and realize that not everyone is out to get you or the various wild animals you hoard in your back bedroom. It's not about you.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on November 12, 2015:
Creating a fake story, identity, and position is not hyperbole. An example of hyperbole would be me saying "you're dumber than a bucket of rocks". You have no argument. Your stupid comment was equivalent to speaking about Dr. K disapproving of velocirapters, Asiatic bears, and the face huggers from 'Alien' as pets. The exotic pets in question here are all reasonable, relatively easy to care for, and non-lethal. Their owners did not deserve to be criticized on TV by someone they are paying (a lot) to help them.
Where does your simpleton 'argument', if it could be called that, come into play here? You made up a situation in which a person is incorrectly caring for a lethal exotic pet. Actual owners of venomous reptiles are often aware of the risks. You needed to prove a point by dancing around what's really going on: pet owners are being criticized by a self-righteous vet who is categorically wrong. You didn't choose to reply to my reasons why she is wrong, because you can't. You don't have the knowledge. All you can do is wave your hands in the air and try to make my arguments look bad by reminding people there are some scary animals out there, and that all exotic pets should be lumped into same category of 'freaky weird bad pet that we find offensive'.
Your 'example' was just an attempt to fear monger ignorant people like yourself.
Ms. A on November 12, 2015:
Oh I should include that I find it funny you act as though you are 'choosing' not to refute me and deleting other people's posts. That's the definition of close minded. And I think you don't answer me because you have no answer. So don't flatter yourself.
Ms. A on November 12, 2015:
It wasn't a dopey attempt at sarcasm. In case you aren't informed, it is a literary device referred to as 'hyperbole'and it is used to expose the fallacies of arguments such as yours. I'm impressed you even realized that I was not serious, since my "dopey attempt at sarcasm" is so similar to your reality.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on November 12, 2015:
Your dopey attempt at sarcasm was neither an argument nor 'rational', and me not entertaining your juvenile little attitude doesn't make me close minded. It does make you a simpleton.