Bunnies, iguanas used as prizes at Kenner carnival

Humane Society of Louisiana is upset that live, exotic animals were given as prizes at a weekend carnival in Kenner.

KENNER -- Last weekend, people said they were shocked to learn animals were being used as prizes at certain amusements at a carnival in Kenner.

Held in the Esplanade Mall parking lot, the carnival was in the process of packing up and moving out come Monday.

Humane Society of Louisiana Executive Director Jeff Dorson said exotic animals like turtles, iguanas and rabbits were given away as game prizes. 

"Problem is people don't have the supplies, resources or time to take care of exotic animals," he said.

Dorson said he is calling on Kenner city leaders to prohibit this sort of thing in the future.

"We want to outlaw, stop this practice," Dorson said. "It doesn't help the community."

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Mayor Ben Zahn also heard complaints about the live animal prizes.

"We don't condone it," Zahn said.

Zahn said the city already has an ordinance that bans live animal giveaways. 

"We do have an ordinance in place," Zahn said. "It does not address reptiles. We will address that, very shortly. I did reach out to a councilman this morning to look how we can amend it for the future."

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The carnival's promoter, Deltus Mitchell said he doesn't have a problem with animals being used as prizes.

"I just take it for granted if someone wants to win one, they would take care of (the animal)," Mitchell said. "We have no way of knowing what they do with it once they leave with it."

Pacific Retail, the company that owns the mall, talked with the promoter after hearing complaints about the animals.

"As soon as we heard about bunnies and iguanas and several other animals being given as prizes we immediately shut that down yesterday.," Esplanade Mall Marketing Manager Ellie Thomas said. "Animals are not a prize to go home to families that are not prepared to take car of them."

The mall plans to specifically ban animal giveaways at all its future events.

"It's just wrong," Dorson said. "How about a stuffed animal, not a living sensing being."

© 2017 WWL-TV


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