Actress Tippi Hedren has called on Kirstie Alley to stop keeping wild lemurs as pets because she is setting a “bad example” by robbing them of their natural habitat.
The former Cheers star has owned exotic ring-tailed lemurs for decades and she currently houses the primates, which are native to Madagascar, in a large metal cage in the backyard of her California home.
However, The Birds veteran and animal rights activist Hedren is not happy with Alley’s actions and insists the creatures are endangered and not appropriate to have as pets.
She tells the National Enquirer, “These creatures need to be in their natural habitat – and I would tell Kirstie that myself. We cannot give wild animals the one thing that they need. She is setting a bad example.”
And the President of Friends of Animals, Priscilla Feral, agrees: “Kirstie has this hideous notion it’s fashionable and completely acceptable to keep the lemurs penned up against their will in a cage – but I think it’s absolutely disgusting… Their cage is nothing more than a jail cell. It’s sickening!”
Alley maintains she has a permit to own the lemurs, as well as two full-time employees to ensure they are well-taken care of, but The Humane Society’s Nicole Paquette worries fans will get the wrong impression that exotic animals are easy to care for.
She adds, “They were still wild animals and should be in their natural habitat. Many people emulate celebrities but not everyone can take care of wild animals correctly.”
Alley isn’t the only celebrity under fire from animal rights activists – teen superstar Justin Bieber has also come under attack for owning Capuchin monkey, Mally, which was seized by officials in Germany and placed in quarantine amid allegations the singer attempted to take the animal into the country without proper paperwork.