Pastor Under Fire for Use of Live Animals

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GRAPEVINE, Tex. -- A Texas pastor is under fire for using live animals during Easter Sunday service. Pastor Ed Young used a lion and a lamb during his message at Fellowship Church.

Stacy Smith who works with the Humane Society of Flower Mound attended Sunday's service. She even recorded the scene with the animals on her call phone.

"The handlers of the lion ran around the cage, sort of poking at him and taunting him to get him to lunge around," Smith said.

Smith feels like the animals were being mistreated.

"Thousands and thousands of churches are able to convey the same exact message without using live animals," she said.

The pastor disagrees. He says the 17-year-old lion lives on a 55-acre ranch in California.

"We would never do anything to endanger our people," said Pastor Young. "Also, we would never do anything to endanger an animal. We love animals."

Young says he will continue to use wildlife over the next five weeks for a biblical series about animals called "wild."

Grapevine police are investigating to see if the church violated any laws by using a lion.   Exhibitors are required to carry a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Humane Society said it wants to work with the church so they can find a better way to convey their message without the use of live animals.

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