August 2007 Issue
Wildlife Activist, Safety Officer
HOMETOWN: Springboro. He grew up in Troy.
PERSONAL: Married to Patricia, with whom he has three sons: Adam, 25; Alex, 23; Aric, 14.
OCCUPATION: He's been a safety officer for the city of Oakwood in suburban Dayton for 26 years.
WHY HE'S FAMOUS:
Harrison is a nationally recognized expert in the safe handling of exotic wild animals, and has become a highly vocal advocate for laws and practices that keep city and suburban dwellers from buying and trying to domesticate the creatures. He's been featured in news stories and magazine articles and on TV; he's also written two books on the subject: Wild Times and Wildlife Lawyer. Six years ago, Harrison co-founded a nonprofit organization, Outreach for Animals (www.outreachforanimals.org
WHY IS A COP FROM OAKWOOD WORRIED ABOUT WILD ANIMALS? "You'd be amazed at the number of wild animals people try to keep as pets — people see them on garbage TV and bring them into their homes, and then children get hurt or killed. We get 175 calls a year in the Tri-State [Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky] — pythons, alligators, boa constrictors, and lots of big cats. We get four to eight big-cat calls a year."
HE'S MOST PROUD OF: Being named an outstanding environmental educator for 2006 by the Environmental Education Council of Ohio.
HE'S LOOKING FORWARD TO: Completion of a documentary about his exotic animal work, "Elephant in the Living Room," in 2008. "It's about why these animals shouldn't be here. Leave 'em in the wild — don't bring 'em into homes."