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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Jaycee Dugard Speaks Out; Exotic Animals as Pets?
Aired March 5, 2010 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JEFF PROBST, GUEST HOST: Tonight, humans sharing their lives and homes with wild animals. Dangerous, unpredictable creatures who can turn violent without warning. Maiming, crippling, even killing those who care for them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is killing your friend?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My chimpanzee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROBST: They adore their snakes, lizards, big cats and chimps. Fatal animal attractions revealed.
But first, Jaycee Dugard seen and heard on tape for the first time publicly after 18 years of captivity in her alleged abductor's backyard. We'll show you how she looks and sounds. We have reactions from Ed Smart and a woman who was abused by the man charged with kidnapping Jaycee. Next on Larry King Live.
Thanks for joining us, I'm Jeff Probst sitting in for Larry King. Jaycee Dugard kidnapped at age 11, raped and twice impregnated then miraculously returned to her family after 18 years of captivity. She has a message for the millions of people who have followed her dramatic story. I'm doing well, she says. It's been a long haul but I'm getting there. Jaycee, makes this positive sounding statement in recently shot home videos exclusively acquired by ABC. The networks aired earlier excerpts of this on "Good Morning America." They show Jaycee briefly talking to the camera. She was riding a horse and even doing some holiday baking.
That is 29-year-old Jaycee on the left, her mother on the right, in the great pull over in the middle of her mother and on the right is her half-sister. Also, in the home video, Jaycee speaks to the public.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAYCEE DUGARD, KIDNAPPED AT AGE 11: Hi, I'm Jaycee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROBST: We want to talk about these new images of Jaycee, what they may reveal about how she's adjusting and about her mother's plea for privacy for her family. Joining us from Las Vegas, a brave woman named Katie Callaway Hall, she was kidnapped and raped by Phillip Garrido in 1976. He was sentenced to 50 years, paroled after just 11. Garrido was the man charged with abducting and assaulting Jaycee.
And joining us from Salt Lake City, Ed Smart. His daughter, Elizabeth, was taken from her bedroom in June of 2002 at age 14. She was found nine months later. The man accused of her kidnapping and rape was recently ruled competent to stand trial. Katie, having gone through this something like this yourself, what do you make of seeing these home videos from, Jaycee?
KATIE CALLAWAY HALL, KIDNAPPED AND RAPED BY PHILLIP GARRIDO IN 1976: I think that Jaycee looks remarkably well. I think that they are making excellent progress in this process of healing, and that's only going to happen with time. And it is a process. And it's going to take time. And that's what they're asking for. They're just asking for time to be left alone and to get on with their healing.
PROBST: Ed, you went through something very similar in dealing with the media. Watching this home video that the family released themselves, what's your take on it?
ED SMART, DAUGTER WAS KIDNAPPED AND HELD NINE MONTHS: You know, I think that Jaycee is doing great. I'm so happy for her, and I couldn't agree more with her mother. Keeping her out of the public's eye and being able to basically re-engage with life, I think she looks like she's doing great. You know, Elizabeth loved horses and had a wonderful time with them, so I think that Jaycee looks like she's doing very, very well.
PROBST: You know, Ed, in this video, they're clearly showing normal activities, normal family activities, embracing, laughing, having fun, baking cookies. Does this ring true to you in terms of what went on with your family when you guys were reunited?
SMART: Absolutely. You know, I remember that night very clearly when Elizabeth came home, and, you know, I've said before how she, you know, said, I want to go back, and I'm going to be there in the morning when she wanted to go sleep in her bed rather than sleep in her room. And, you know, it's amazing how resilient people are, and I'm just so happy for Jaycee and for her family. I just think, you know, what a wonderful reunion, what a wonderful way to be able to move forward with your life. You know, being with people that absolutely love you and care about you.
PROBST: Katie, it's tough to get inside anybody's head and you're not a psychologist, but do you think, is there any chance that part of this message is also a little bit of defiance to say to the public and to the man who is accused of doing this, you know what? In spite of everything I'm going through, I'm doing all right, and I want you to know that, that I'm doing OK.
HALL: I think it is, and I think it's Jaycee's way of letting him know. I mean, he wants to use the lawyers to communicate and maybe she's just going to use the media in her own little way. I think she has tremendous strength of character, and I think we should attribute that to the way her mother Terry raised her for the first 11 years. I think that's probably the only way she survived this whole ordeal. You know, my ordeal was just a blip on the radar compared to what Elizabeth went through and Jaycee, but it did affect me my whole life. And I just think Jaycee is doing really well now.
PROBST: You know, it's worth noting that in only six months, being home only six months, Jaycee has already gotten her driver's license, she has birth certificates for her two daughters which she bore while in captivity, she's working on finishing her high school, GED. In spite of all the good, is there any down side, Ed, to this kind of releasing of a video that they're doing, and releasing photos to people and things like that?
SMART: I think that there really is, and I think they have done a wonderful job in helping her. You know, to me, what this says is, you know, my life has had this horrible event. I know this is how Elizabeth felt, but my life is not going to be dominated and defined by it. And, you know, I just think that what they're doing is exactly what should be done. And I just applaud the family.
PROBST: Katie and Ed, thank you guys both for joining us. Thanks for your insight and sharing your thoughts with us. We will talk to you again soon, I'm sure.
All right. We are now changing subjects in a big way. We're going to talk about people who love their exotic pets maybe a little too much. Fatal animal attractions. That is next on Larry King Live.
PROBST: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Jeff Probst, sitting in for Larry tonight. Exotic per ownership, isn't as rare, as you might think. We're going to look at how and why people acquire these unbelievable creatures. Is it good for the animal? Is it safe for the owner? All this in anticipation of animal planet's fatal attraction series which premiers Sunday, March 14.
Joining us to talk about it is Julie Burros. She was the owner of a black leopard until she was brutally attacked by the cat. Dave Salmoni, Animal Planet's Large Predator Expert, and Josephine Martell is an Animal Welfare Policy Expert and Program Director of Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. Let's start by taking a look at what happened to Julie on what started out as an ordinary February afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIE BURROS, ATTACKED BY HER PET LEOPARD: It was February 9 of 2004. I did everything I've always done normally. I fed him earlier that morning. Later on that day, I went to spend time with him, and as soon as I closed the gate behind me, he leaped up, and that's when it all started.
(END VIDEO CLIP) PROBST: All right. Julie, before we get to what happened on that day, take us back to the beginning. Why a leopard? Where was the idea that this would be a good pet to own?
BURROS: Well, it's not a good idea, but it's something I've always wanted since I was a girl, a small girl. And it took me forever to learn that I can acquire one of these animals.
PROBST: How do you acquire one?
BURROS: Actually, I found him in an exotic magazine that has breeders of different exotic animals.
PROBST: What did it cost?
BURROS: He was $1800.
PROBST: Seems cheap.
BURROS: Yes, pretty cheap for that kind of cat.
PROBST: And, so how does the cat arrive? You call up somebody and order it?
BURROS: No, actually, I had to go pick him up. I had to drive a few hours to go get him.
PROBST: And at any point were you worried -- you're picking up a wildcat, a wild animal. Did you put it in the back of your car?
BURROS: He was a cub when I bought him. He was like 9.5 weeks old. And, he just -- I let him ride in the car.
PROBST: And this attack that happened was severe and brutal. He attacked the back of your head, right?
PROBST: What happened on that day?
BURROS: Just a normal routine. I went into his cage and went to spend time with him. Usually, I test his mood to see what kind of vibes he was throwing off and to see if I could actually go and spend time with him. And I knew the difference that if he didn't want to be bothered, that, you know, I wouldn't bother him. But he licked my hand so I went in, and as soon as I did, he leaped up and I immediately protected my arm.
PROBST: And while you're telling this story, we have some photos, we're going to throw up here. I just want to give you warning, they're graphic photos, so prepare yourself. You can take a look at these photos, Julie, and tell us what was happening. That is the back of your head.
BURROS: Yes. He actually -- when he jumped up, his tooth caught on my ear on the way down from his leap, and he went back again. It was like he was rough housing me. His body language just didn't seem like he was trying to kill me. It just like, he wanted to rough- house.
PROBST: Dave, how much stronger are leopards than humans?
DAVE SALMONI, ANIMAL PLANET'S LARGE PREDATOR EXPERT: We consider a leopard in the wild. They're going to take something five times their own weight up a tree. So, you know, a thousand-pound animal is something that can kill. So, you know, they're designed to kill, so you can't really match a human strength. Even the biggest human is not going to match-up.
PROBST: No comparison.
SALMONI: Not even close.
PROBST: Josephine, you're listening in on this. What do you make of this, because I think a lot of people watching would say this is probably not the normal behavior that somebody wants to own a leopard. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it, Julie. What's your take?
JOSEPHINE MARTELL, ANIMAL WELFARE POLICY EXPERT: Well, surprisingly, it's estimated there are about 20,000 big cats kept in captivity across the United States and these are in private ownership, they're not accredited to zoos, they're not legitimate sanctuaries. They're roadside and literally in people's back yards.
PROBST: Dave, is what happened with Julie, is that inevitable? Is that what happens when predator, the animals can't be predators?
SALMONI: I mean, predators, the animals are always predators. That's the one thing that unfortunately people forget or, you know, I meet a lot of these types of people, and the thought of, it's not going to happen to me. I think most people who take on these big predators, they know that they'll kill, but they just think, it won't be me. I'll raise him from a baby. I'll love it so much that it could never do that to me.
PROBST: We're going to get into the psychology of this a little later in the show.
Up next, chimpanzees may look cute but they can maim and even kill. Our next guest has two of them. And as you can see for yourself in this live picture, she is not worried one bit. Stay with us. We'll be back.
PROBST: Welcome back to Larry KING LIVE. We're talking about exotic pets and the people who own them in a follow-up to the story we just did with Julie and the leopard. That leopard was shot and killed on the day of the attack. So, that's the footnote to that. Jeanne Rizzotto joins us now. She owns two male chimpanzees, Connor and Cramer. They are related to Travis. As you might remember the 200- pound chimp of the tortured face of Charla Nash, who also lost her hands in the attack.
Jeanne Rizzotto. Jeanne, welcome. We see you in the cage with the chimps. What is the appeal? Why does this make sense to you to own these wild animals and live with them?
JEANNE RIZZOTTO, OWNER OF TWO CHIMPANZEES: Well, it doesn't make sense anymore, but it did when I first got them.
PROBST: How long have you had them?
RIZZOTTO: Eight years. It will be eight years April.
PROBST: Eight years, and the initial idea was what? They were cute and they were small?
RIZZOTTO: You know, it's like anything. I was in a good position financially, and I could afford to get them, and I got -- paid 50,000 for Connor, and a couple years later I paid 35,000 for Cramer and just went from there.
PROBST: So, you have $100,000 nearly invested in these two chimps, and that enclosure had to cost a fair amount of money. How much money is it to keep them?
RIZZOTTO: I would say, I spend probably $15,000 a year feeding them. My outdoor enclosure cost me 100,000, my indoor enclosure cost me probably about 50,000.
PROBST: We are looking at these chimps now live, and it is fascinating, I have to say. My interest is piqued. Dave, what is the difference between you, somebody who is trained to deal with these kinds of animals, and somebody like Jeanne who has this great idea and thinks it would be fun to have a couple of chimps.
SALMONI: The only difference is the education. I have, you know, my degrees and I spent 12 years as an animal trainer. And I professionally restrained on how to care for these animals. I understand the will to do it, but if you want to do something like this, you really have to do it in a professional manner and take care of the animals in a way that, you know, you can manage with their whole lives, you can manage and they're going to be healthily taken care of. And like she says, they get very expensive.
PROBST: Jeanne, you knew that your chimps were related to Travis. When that horrible incident went down, did it give you any second thoughts at all about keeping these chimps?
RIZZOTTO: No. And I wanted to bring you back to the gentleman that was just talking.
RIZZOTTO: First of all, you know, being a trainer and taking -- having a bunch of education is a lot different than 24/7 one-on-one. My chimps are not an entertainment, I don't use them for commercials, they're not around people and they're very well protected. All my cages are zoo-accredited standards. And basically, to be honest with you, and I can't see you over there, but I'm not going to argue with you.
PROBST: Jeanne, I think, the point...
RIZZOTTO: But you don't know because you don't have chimps. You're just going on training and beating them in the head and hitting them with things to make sure they do what they do and throw an arm around them...
PROBST: Jeanne, I'm going to interrupt you for a minute. Jeanne, we're about out of time in this, but let me ask you a quick question with a quick answer. You do understand the credibility issue, right? You seem like a nice woman but you're just -- you're a woman who got some chimps several years ago. You understand the criticism.
RIZZOTTO: No, I don't at all because everyone should be criticized. It's not because I'm a woman and because I have chimpanzees. Everyone should be criticized for having a chimp or being a trainer or being a breeder, we all should be criticize. It's not just because I own them. We should all be criticized with having anything to do with chimpanzees.
PROBST: Jeanne, I have to interrupt you. I'm sorry, I know it's hard when you're not here.
PROBST: What is it about people who want exotic animals like Jeanne does for pets? Why won't a dog or cat or goldfish do? We will find the psychological answers when we come back.
PROBST: We are back talking exotic animals with chimp owner Jeanne Rizzotto, we're now joined by Dr. Michelle Golland, Clinical Psychologist and Contributor momlogic.com. Dr. Golland, you've been listening in on this and we just had a pretty, healthy exchange between an expert and a woman who would say even though I don't have a degree, I am an expert.
PSY. D. MICHELLE GOLLAND, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Right.
PROBST: What's your take, psychologically, what goes on with somebody who wants to own a wild animal?
GOLLAND: Well, there's a few things. First of all, what we have to remember, Jeff, is that people are attached to their animals in such intense ways. I mean, this is, people consider them family, you know. And so I think in this situation, what we have to look at is how are these animals or these choices of animals impacting our functioning level? If I were to be sitting with a client and I find out that they're dealing with major financial issues because they can't afford what they're doing, or they're no longer seeing family, or they can't afford to feed the animal yet they keep it going like that, then we're talking -- these are some deep deep-rooted issues that need to be looked at.
PROBST: And Jeanne, we are going to get to you and I know we're talking about you but not talking with you yet. Are there any behavioral or social commonalities? Are typically, are people who own pets, are they in relationships? Or do they tend to be loners? Because, to me it seems a little more unusual than usual.
GOLLAND: Well, I think the problem when we look at, like the example of these chimps, is that, it takes so much energy and time and financial resources to actually do this appropriately that it's a very difficult thing to do without it becoming a serious problem in your life.
PROBST: Jeanne, have you heard this before? Have other people in your life said, you know, this doesn't seem right. You should talk to somebody about this. This is a little crazy?
RIZZOTTO: Well, actually, here's how I feel. I shouldn't own chimps, no one should own chimps. You know, people should not own chimpanzees. However, I bought the chimps and I'm doing the best I can right now with the chimps. I would love for the chimps -- I have a great sanctuary, I'd love for them to go to. If anybody can take my chimps and it's better place than where they are right now, that's a challenge, I'd take them there tomorrow. However, no one...
PROBST: Jeanne, are you a little in over your head, then?
RIZZOTTO: No, not at all. I just know it's time -- I have overcome the fact that the chimps need to be with other chimps and that's really hard for a chimp owner to do. And I think the lady that was just speaking -- I'm sorry, I don't remember your name because I don't see anybody here. So, it's kind of hard but I understand what you're saying and she's correct. She is right. We fall in love with these creatures, and to actually say we made a mistake to get past that hump and start doing the right thing for the chimpanzee is where you need to be, and that's where I'm at.
PROBST: So, Dr. Golland?
GOLLAND: Yes. I just wanted to -- first of all--
RIZZOTTO: So, while I'm there, I'm trying to give them the best life I can.
GOLLAND: So, I want to say something. I think it is so important, Jeanne, that you have acknowledged that. And what you can do by acknowledging this and realizing that -- your love -- I can only imagine how much you love them and care for them like your babies. I can relate to that very much. But I think letting people understand that this is not OK, that this can become such a problem, you can have the best intentions, but it's really going down a road that is really dangerous. And if there is anyone, I would really, please, contact Jeanne. Please. I mean, that could be...
PROBST: Yes. She's looking for a sanctuary if there is somebody out there.
GOLLAND: And anyone, who is watching, anyone who is considering doing what you did, I think it's so important that you say that, so that somebody doesn't get in the position that she's in now. It's really courageous of you to say that.
PROBST: Yes. Thank you for being with us, Jeanne -- yes?
RIZZOTTO: OK. I was just going to say, I would like to invite other chimp owners to talk to me because I do understand what this like to, to admit that we shouldn't be doing what we're doing and we need to put them where they belong with other chimpanzees. I would love to help them out. It's been hard for me, I love them but they need to be with chimps. And like I said, you know, I'm not going to make them go backwards, either, and put them in a home that's less than what they have, but I'm more than happy to put them where they belong in something that's better than what they have or at least what I'm offering them now.
PROBST: Thanks Jeanne.
All right. Who spoke -- is it -- when things go wrong? Is it the animal's fault or is it the owner's, the brother of the woman who was mauled by Travis the chimp has some thoughts on that. He is here next. Stick around.
PROBST: We're discussing chimps as pets and the dangers involved. Animal Planet's "Fatal Attractions" premieres Sunday, March 14th. Michael Nash joins us. His twin sister Charla was mauled by Travis the chimp. Still with us are Jeanne Rizzotto who owns two chimpanzees and Dr. Michelle Golland, a clinical psychologist.
Michael, your sister made unfortunate international headlines when she was mauled by a 200-pound chimp and then she was courageous enough to go on Oprah and talk about it and show the damage. What did she tell you about that day?
MICHAEL NASH, SISTER WAS MAULED: She doesn't remember that day. It's totally out of her mind. She was in a coma two months, and when she came out, it took about three or four months for her brain to get normalized.
PROBST: All right, well, Michael, I'll prepare you. We're going to listen now to that horrific 911 call that was made by Travis' owner, Sandra Herold. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 911, where is your emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call the police. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the problem there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The chimp killed my friend!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is killing your friend?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My chimpanzee.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your chimpanzee is killing your friend.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He ripped her apart. Hurry up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the monkey doing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He ripped her face off. She's dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you saying that she's dead?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's dead. He ripped her apart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He ripped what apart, her face?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He ripped her apart?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I'm going to faint.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just breathe, OK? I'm going to stay with you on the phone until they get there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please hurry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROBST: Michael, this was a mauling. She lost both her hands. She lost an eyelid, she lost her nose. She's now had her eyes removed so she can no longer see. How is she doing today?
NASH: She's doing real good. She's happy. She even called me up to tell me this was coming on tonight. And I told her to listen to me.
PROBST: So she seems to be doing all right. You know, your sister and Sandra, the owner of the pet, they were very close friends.
NASH: They weren't close.
PROBST: They weren't close friends?
NASH: Not close.
PROBST: They were friends enough that she was over there visiting.
NASH: Right, yes. She worked for her. PROBST: OK. All right. We're getting some new information. Let's listen to what Sandra says now and then I would like to ask you what the relationship of these two women is today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Charlotte's injuries were horrific. She lost her hands, the bones in the middle of her face had been crushed. She had no nose, no lips or eyesight. While Charla was fighting for her life, Sandra was asked if she still thought chimps should still be pets.
SANDRA HEROLD, OWNED CHIMP: Would I have done it again? Yes. It was horrific what happened and I had to do what I had to do, but I still -- I'll miss him for the rest of my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROBST: Michael, reaction to hearing that she wouldn't change a thing.
NASH: That's kind of typical of her behavior in everything she does. So it doesn't surprise me.
PROBST: Doesn't surprise you.
Now Jeanne, I'm guessing you don't have the same reaction. Based on what you said earlier, do you have a little fear that the longer you keep these chimps, the more possible it is that there might be an attack by them?
RIZZOTTO: You know, I don't have a fear of my own chimps, but I do have a fear of other people's chimps. So, really, the answer to that -- I really can answer Sandra because I couldn't imagine -- there are so many victims here. So I couldn't imagine how she felt having to stab her own chimpanzee, this lady getting mauled like this.
The only thing that I did from that that I thought would help me, and I hope other chimp owners do this, is right away I took it upon myself to make the environment of my own chimpanzees better. I made it safer, I had an assessment guy come out and I took it from there because I don't want to see it again. I surely don't want it to happen with my chimps.
PROBST: Michelle Golland, now on one hand, Jeanne sounds like she understands this isn't a good idea, and on the other, we just have a few seconds here, on the other, she says, but my chimps are OK.
GOLLAND: Right. I think that's part of what happens with animal owners of dangerous pets is that there's this belief that they're unique and that they're special and that they can handle it or that their relationship with that animal somehow transcends the animal's true nature. And it's just a false belief.
PROBST: Doctor, thank you for being with us.
One man's pet lizard killed him and then ate him. It's true. That fatal attraction is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Further investigation began to uncover evidence that Huff had been bitten just days before his death. In the past, he had been strong enough to fight off infections, but by the time he realized the symptoms were overtaking him, it could have been too late. The first bite might have been bad luck on Huff's part. But now he was defenseless. Ron Huff's death was gruesome. But to those who understood him, it seems to have come about because he was more concerned for the welfare of his pets than himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROBST: And with that, we welcome you back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Jeff Probst sitting in for Larry tonight. Josephine Martell is back with us, she's an animal welfare policy expert. Psychologist Michelle Golland is also here. And Winston Card is here. Winston is a herpetologist features in "Fatal Attractions," debuting on Animal Planet March 14th.
Winston, we just heard the story of Ron Huff not killed by monitor lizards, but eaten by monitor lizards. Does that make sense, to have a houseful of monitor lizards as pets? Is that something that could make work in the right situation?
WINSTON CARD, HERPETOLOGIST: It might not make sense to me or you, but it made sense to Ron. And there are lots of other people out there who do that sort of thing, have a real passion for the animal.
PROBST: Is there a different appeal or is it a different person that wants a reptile versus than a chimp. With a champ, there might be some recognition. You're not going to do much with a monitor lizard other than observe them, I'm guessing.
CARD: There is a difference. We tend to be, and I say we because I am certainly one of these people in terms of the passion that we all share for the animals. We tend to be more interested in the intrinsic of the animals, their behaviors. There are so many different species of reptiles and amphibians that you can keep in your home. If you're interested in a hippopotamus, you can't keep one in your backyard, but if you're interested in reptiles, you can keep virtually any of them in your home.
PROBST: And are monitor lizard bites, the infection, how severe is that?
CARD: The infection, any predator can cause a pretty serious infection from a bite, whether it's a reptile or a big cat, certainly.
PROBST: Josephine, in your work, is this common for somebody who has a reptile to maybe have a whole house full or several?
MARTELL: Yes, well we certainly see it with big cats. Often people often have 10 to 20 tigers.
PROBST: Is there a chance, Winston, that Ron could have -- handled differently, you know, they were roaming around his house -- if those had been caged or in a separate area, does that make it safe or is this always, like with all these wild animals, a risk?
CARD: I think any time you bring any wild animal into your home, even some domestic animals there is a certain amount of risk. With some wild animals that risk is greatly elevated. I think in Ron's case, it had a lot to do with his particular personality, and a lot of people who keep lots of wild animals are the same.
PROBST: Dr. Golland, unfortunately, Ron is not with us and this was a fatal attack. Is something like this clinically diagnosed? Is this a mental illness?
GOLLAND: It can become a mental illness, and I totally respect there is a level of passion for these sorts, whether it's reptiles or chimps or any of that.
But when it starts to become all-consuming and someone is physically putting themselves in harm, you know, by making their environment only for the lizards, losing sight of self, again, it seems that he was keeping the apartment a certain degree and all of those sorts of things, and they were running around there. There was an element of hoarding and obsessive-compulsive disorder that seems to possibly have been at play here.
PROBST: Thanks for your insight in this continually fascinating story. Up next, the story of a woman and her poisonous snake. Why would anybody have one or more is something we're going to be talking about as Dr. Golland just said, animal hoarding, after the break.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up at the top of the hour on "360," is the president about to flip-flop on his vow to try some terror suspects in civilian court, in New York. It's starting to look like it and the left wing is not happy. Tonight, why the apparent change of heart from the president and what it means for the midterms. David Gergen and Jeff Toobin weigh in.
Also ahead tonight, new details about the man who showed up at the Pentagon yesterday bent on killing. His obsession with conspiracy theories and his history of mental illness. We'll take a look at his motivation and what may have driven him.
All that plus my conversation with Kelly Ripa about who she thinks will take home an Oscar and why she won't be at the Oscars this weekend, but maybe hanging out with Lou Dobbs. We'll explain on "360" at the top of the hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While he rushed into the emergency room, Alexandria Hall still had the presence of mind to tell her doctors what had bitten her. The hospital treated her with a generic snake anti-venom and did what they could to keep her alive. Alexandria Hall was able to tell doctors how she was bitten, but after that she lost consciousness. Within two days, she was dead from a brain hemorrhage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROBST: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. We are joined now with a friend which we will get to in a moment, but Winston, before we introduce this guy which is getting closer to me by the second, in fact, he's coming to say hello right now, you were involved in this story that we just saw, and basically what happened was she was bitten by a snake, went to the hospital, got a general anti-venom. They didn't have the specific anti-venom. What did you see? Wow, this is amazing and I can't say that I'm completely comfortable and Larry, your microphone may not be here when we are finished with this show, but when you went to the house, a snake wasn't the only thing she had in there.
CARD: No. Alexandria had a collection of about 30 animals. About half of those were venomous snakes. Not particularly unusual. In Cincinnati, within the same year that Alexandria was killed and killed by her venomous snake, there were two other bites that occurred in that same city. One of the people died. The other guy survived.
PROBST: What kind of snake is this?
CARD: This is a Burmese python. Obviously, it's albino. It's not its normal coloration.
PROBST: So this is really the mother of all pythons. This is the biggest and I would guess one of the most common when people decide they want a big snake.
CARD: Yes, these are quite common in the pet trade. In fact, just a point of interest, most of the animals that you've talked about today are born in captivity. There's a huge industry in the U.S. and rarely are these animals being brought in from the wild.
PROBST: Is it like the wild, wild west out there, that you can go on the Internet -- I went on this afternoon and found there are many exotic pets I could have probably in a few days.
CARD: Yes, one of these Burmese pythons, a female can produce 50 offspring in a year. And so if the animal is reproducing for five or six years, just that one snake can produce a lot of babies.
PROBST: Josephine, we're talking about the idea also of hoarding, like this woman who had so many animals in her home. What do you know hoarding and how do you classify it? What makes somebody a hoarder?
MARTELL: Well animal hoarding is considered a disorder. And it's defined as the accumulation of large amounts of animals and the failure to provide even minimal standards of care for these animals as well as the doctor mentioned, a lack of insight to the failure and as well as a denial of the consequences of that failure. And in the case of dangerous, exotic animals, like chimps and big cats and dangerous reptiles, this failure is even more pronounced because these animals require specialized care and diet and containment as well as they pose a huge safety threat to the community and to the owners, themselves.
PROBST: Doctor Golland, how do you wrap all of this up? Can you capture all of this, all the different animals we've had, the different types of people who own them?
GOLLAND: Right. I think what it so important to understand is that we have passion about our animals, and it's actually related very much to childhood, which your first guest talked about, about the black cat that she loved. But what we have to keep in mind is that it cannot impair our functioning. If it is damaging our social world, relationships, our financial situation then it's time to take a serious look at ourselves and our decisions about pets.
PROBST: Winston, one last quick question, quick answer. I'm unnerved with this snake here. Clearly I don't want to own one. What is it that's so fascinating to own a deadly snake?
CARD: I don't know. I could ask that of the people who owned the chimps. I don't understand that. I love these animals, and any time I have an opportunity just to sit down and talk to somebody about them for a couple hours, they're never the same. Just fascinating.
PROBST: So you could sway me to take home this Burmese python?
CARD: I don't want you to take it home but can definitely sway you to see the value in it.
PROBST: All right. Well, our next guest, take a look at this, another gorgeous animal for sure. But this lynx isn't just a bigger and better version of a cat. We're going to walk on the wild side. LARRY KING LIVE returns right after this.
PROBST: Dave Salmoni is "Animal Planet's" large predator expert and he is here with a large predator, a lynx. Who is this?
DAVE SALMONI, ANIMAL PLANET: This is Boomer. And when you're here, he's totally comfortable. You're OK. Just stroke him on the back. Stay away from the head. It's a dominance type of thing. Thee are all things that probably some of these pet owners should know if you're going to have an animal.
PROBST: Well you know, before this show started I don't think I would have been near as concerned about petting him and now I am. Are there things you can do with you here that make this safe?
SALMONI: Absolutely. I mean, the fact that there are people who have no training at all that take these pets, they don't make good pets, they shouldn't be pets. There are people who know how to take care of wild animals. We've got accredited zoos, we've got people that have spent years of their lives studying how these animals can be best taken care of. And I think that's what we have to realize, that there are animals --
PROBST: If I took this animal home --
SALMONI: You'd probably die. And the fact of the matter is like the chimp lady, those animals are getting old enough that they're going to turn on her eventually. You keep test in the well, they're going to come at you. A predator is a predator. Their instincts will kick in.
This guy is very docile, he's been trained and he's been raised properly around people. But the fact of the matter is, he's got instincts that say, I want to kill something. And if you're the only thing around him, eventually he's going to try.
PROBST: So is there ever a time, after this whole hour we've spent talking with all these -- is there ever a time that it would make sense for a person who is not trained, even though they may think they are qualified, to have a pet like this?
SALMONI: I think the obvious answer is never. These are not pets. You can't even use an exotic animal and the word pet in the same sentence. You cannot tame a wild animal. You can train them, you can handle them, you can't tame them.
PROBST: So you can train them, but they're never tame, meaning they are always wild.
SALMONI: This is a wild animal. You can take the chimps, put them in diapers, you can give this guy a bottle but it's a wild animal. They're always wild animals. And those instincts are far stronger than all your loves and all your hugs for all the years. They're eventually going to try something on you because that's what there body tells them to do.
PROBST: How old is this cat?
SALMONI: This guy is an adult. I think he's around 6 years.
PROBST: So will he get much bigger?
SALMONI: This is his size. This is probably one of the biggest ones. This one is actually a Siberian lynx which is probably the biggest of all the lynx. And I was actually saying I only met him recently and I came in a little bit surprised how big he is. So I think you're pretty brave to come by and pat him.
PROBST: I'm feeling a little brave right now because every time he turns his head and looks back at me I'm not really comfortable with it.
PROBST: That's the thing. I can see his whiskers are back, his ears are forward, he's not breathing, he's not staring at you. I know he's not giving any signs that he's going to kill you, but I also know I'm going to hang on to this leash. I'm staying by the head and I've told you to only pet back here. Those are safety precautions that I know over 12 years of experience.
PROBST: Just going back to what we were talking about earlier with Jeanne, is there -- do you hear that a lot? What Jeanne was very honest in saying, look, I know it's not a good idea, however I must say I'm OK with my chimps. Do you hear that a lot? I'm OK.
SALMONI: That's the thing. Everyone's got their relationship. Everybody thinks they're not going to be the one. They all know that other people get attacked, but they're not going to be the one. I liken it to people that go out driving on the highway. We all know that people die in car accidents but we always go driving thinking we won't be the one. Unfortunately with wild animals, you'll always be the one if you don't know what you're doing.
PROBST: Are we in trouble in terms of laws and regulations?
SALMONI: I think definitely we need to look at the people that are doing it right. And they need to sit down together and try and come up with laws that prevent people from making these pets. Get rid of those black markets, get rid of those guys who have got these animals in their backyard that are giving the bad press for these animals and are putting these animals in situations that not only do they kill people, but they get killed themselves. So these animals are definitely the ones that are getting hurt in this.
PROBST: Dave, thank you. And Larry, I know you why took the night off. All right, it was a pleasure being here. Larry, thank you for letting me sit in. It's time now for Anderson Cooper and "A.C. 360."