Montana Governor Greg Gianforte has signed into law House Bill 305 which will add wildlife sanctuaries to the list of establishments housing wild animals that are subject to regulations and permit requirements. The law additionally prohibits such establishments from obtaining “healthy” wild animals by purchase or capture from the wild unless certain requirements are met and adds wildlife sanctuaries and nonprofit entities “accredited” by the Zoological Association of America to the definition of establishments that are exempt from existing prohibitions on the possession and sale of “exotic wildlife.”
Montana Revises Laws Regarding Zoos and Sanctuaries
Groups Challenge Treatment of Endangered Animals at Roadside Zoo
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Animal Legal Defense Fund have filed suit against the Pymatuning Deer Park alleging that its treatment of animals constitutes a public nuisance and a violation of the Endangered Species Act.
Arkansas Legislation Would Preempt Limitations on Animal Enterprise
Arkansas House Bill 1883 would prohibit a municipality from enacting any ordinance or resolution that “terminates, bans, effectively bans, or creates an undue hardship relating to the job or use of a working animal or animal enterprise in commerce, service, legal hunting, agriculture, husbandry, transportation, ranching, entertainment, education, or exhibition.”
Nevada Considers Ban on Keeping or Allowing Contact with Dangerous Wild Animals
Nevada Senate Bill 344 would prohibit the importation, possession, sale, transfer, and breeding of a “dangerous wild animal.” The bill also would prohibit direct contact with such animals. “Dangerous wild animal” is defined to include elephants, aardwolves and hyenas, primates, gray wolves, red wolves bred in captivity, cheetahs, clouded leopards, jaguars, leopards, lions, mountain lions bred in captivity, snow leopards, tigers, American black bears bred in captivity, Asiatic black bears, brown bears, giant pandas, polar bears, sloth bears, spectacled bears, and sun bears. The bill includes numerous exemptions, including for research facilities, non-profit shelters, and institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The bill also would exempt certain holders of USDA Class “C” exhibitor licenses and persons who possessed dangerous wild animals before July 1, 2021 if several criteria are met, including not having been cited for animal welfare violations within the previous three years, never having been convicted of animal cruelty or neglect, and maintaining insurance coverage of not less than $250,000.
North Carolina Considers Sales Tax Exemption for Farmers to Include Zoo Operations
North Carolina Senate Bill 388 would expand the sales tax exemption for farmers to include purchase of an item “used by a farmer for zoo operations if it is 24 used to construct or maintain a collection of living animals or crops for public display.”
Indiana to Require Animal Disease Reporting Within 24 Hours
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has signed into law Senate Bill 53 which will require any veterinarian, biomedical researcher, public health official, zoo or wildlife personnel, or custodian of an animal who knows or has reason to suspect that an animal is suffering from a disease deemed reportable by the board of animal health to report the occurrence within 24 hours of discovery (reduced from the previous 48-hour requirement).
11th Circuit Revives Lawsuit Challenging Lolita AWA Permit
The Eleventh Circuit has overturned a district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit brought by PETA alleging that the United States Department of Agriculture violated its own policy under the Animal Welfare Act when it added the non-compliant tank where orca whale Lolita is currently captive to the existing exhibitor’s license of the facility’s new owner.
Texas Considers Ban on Ownership, Contact with Dangerous Wild Animals
Texas House Bill 4049 would make it a Class A misdemeanor to “own, possess, sell, transfer, breed, or have custody or control of a dangerous wild animal.” The bill also would prohibit allowing any person to have “direct contact” with a dangerous wild animal. “Dangerous wild animal” is defined as “a baboon, a bear, a bobcat, a caracal, a cheetah, a chimpanzee, a clouded leopard, a cougar, a coyote, an elephant, a gorilla, a hyena, a jackal, a jaguar, a leopard, a lion, a lynx, a macaque, an ocelot, an orangutan, a serval, a snow leopard, a tiger, or any hybrid of subspecies” thereof. The bill contains exemptions for many parties, including persons possessing a USDA Class C exhibitors license, but would apply several conditions to those exemptions, such as never having been convicted of animal abuse or neglect, never having had a relevant permit revoked or suspended, and not having been cited by the USDA for interfering with an inspection within the previous three years.
ALDF Challenges USDA’s Renewal of Wildlife on Wheels’ AWA License
The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed suit against the United States Department of Agriculture alleging that the agency’s renewal of Wildlife on Wheels’ Animal Welfare Act license was improper.
Colorado Considers Prohibition on Use of Certain Animals in Traveling Animal Acts
Colorado Senate Bill 135 would prohibit the use in a traveling animal act of any “Cetartiodactyla other than bison, cattle, deer, elk, goats, reindeer, swine, and sheep; Felidae other than domestic cats; wild Canidae other than domestic dogs; Marsupialia; nonhuman primates; Perissodactyla other than horses, donkeys and mules; Pinnipedian; Proboscidea; Ratites; Spheniscidae; and Ursidae,” including hybrids, whether wild-borne or captive-bred.