The Elephant in the Living Room (2010)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Animals, Social Issues  |   Release Date - Apr 1, 2011 (USA - Limited), Apr 1, 2011 (USA)  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Synopsis by Mark Deming

"You can buy a cobra, but you can't buy common sense," says Tim Harrison, and he knows something about the subject. Harrison is a policeman, paramedic, and firefighter who has become an expert on dealing with exotic pets when they break free or turn on their owners. It's estimated that 15,000 lions, tigers, and other large cats are kept as pets in the United States, and while many are well cared for, some are purchased by people who are unaware of the danger and responsibility of caring for a predatory animal, and Harrison has also been forced to deal with bears, alligators, and large snakes that were adopted as pets and later became a danger to the community. Adding to a difficult situation is inconsistent regulation of exotic pet ownership, which makes it easier to own a tiger than a puppy in some territories. Filmmaker Michael Webber examines the trading of exotic pets in America and Tim Harrison's work with animals in the documentary The Elephant in the Living Room. The film also offers the perspective of Terry Brumfield, a man who struggled with depression for years before developing a close relationship with a pair of lions he adopted. The Elephant in the Living Room was named best documentary at the 2010 Traverse City Film Festival.

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Keywords

animal, animal-rights, domestic, elephant, exotic, pets, tiger, wild-animals