North Carolina Considers Limitation on Ownership, Transfer of “Dangerous Wild Animals”

North Carolina House Bill 811 would make it unlawful to possess, sell, transfer, breed, or allow a member of the public to come into direct physical contact with a “dangerous wild animal.” “Dangerous wild animal” is defined to include gray wolves, all species of felids other than domestic cats, all species of hyenas and aardwolves, all species of bears, “apes, old world monkeys, new world monkeys, excluding humans, all species of marmosets, capuchin monkeys, lemurs, and lorises.” The bill includes exemptions for institutions “accredited or certified by” the Association of Zoos and aquariums or the Zoological Association of America, circuses, institutions holding a valid license pursuant to the Animal Welfare Act, a motion picture or television production company “employing or contracting with a dealer or exhibitor licensed under section 2133 of the federal Animal Welfare Act,” research facilities as defined in the Animal Welfare Act, institutions accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International, temporary transport through the state for not more than 24 hours, nonprofit animal protection organizations, and veterinary operations. The bill would allow continued possession of a dangerous wild animal lawfully possessed prior to June 1, 2021 on the condition that several detailed requirements are met. The bill also sets requirements for transport of dangerous wild animals and outlines enforcement and penalties for all such prohibited activities.