Most people in their right mind wouldn’t dream of having a 550lb African lion as a house pet, but many individuals choose to keep lions, tigers, chimpanzees, and other exotic animals right in their backyards just the same. These owners have a love for their animals that is as deep as any pet owner’s and believe that they have a right to keep them, while the opposition claims that keeping exotic pets is not only inhumane, but dangerous to the owners and others in the area.
A new documentary, The Elephant in the Living Room, is here to explore the debate. The film follows police officer and animal advocate Tim Harrison, who has spent the last 30 years rescuing animals and responding to calls about exotic pets. On the other side is Terry Brumfield, the owner of a fully-grown male African lion. The two clash over Brumfield’s right to keep his pets, creating a microcosm of the debate at large.
Harrison’s work is fascinating, bringing him up against a sixteen-foot Burmese python in a parking lot, a ten-foot alligator walking the streets of a small town, and a 550lb lion attacking cars on a freeway.
The documentary has already been screened at a number of film festivals across the U.S., and is set for a limited release in April. To see a list of cities, visit the website, and check out the trailer below!