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  • Writer's pictureSheri Sublett

Other Pending Bills (As of 6/21/2023)

California

  • CA AB 554

Would grant new legal powers to Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Under the bill SPCAs would be granted a private right of action to bring lawsuits to obtain an injunction “to prevent the violation of any law relating to or affecting animals. Committee voted in favor of bill on April 24, 2023 and is pending Floor action in the Assembly. ZAA has signed onto a letter of opposition with other industry groups. Ordered to inactive file at the request of Sponsor on May 25, 2023. This means the bill will not move forward this year but can be taken up again next year.

Makes changes to existing law governing certain Fish and Game Commission permits for the entry, importation, possession, transportation, keeping, confinement, or release of wild animals. This bill would require that the permits be renewed at least every 5 years and that permit applicants show proof of current liability insurance and a surety bond. Amended to remove most of the original language. Now relates to conservation of the Western Joshua Tree. Passed the Assembly on 5/31/2023 and sent to the Senate.

Illinois

Would make it unlawful for any person to allow any member of the public to come into direct contact with a bear or nonhuman primate. Contains exceptions including for owners of facilities and trained professionals at such facilities. No accreditation requirement. Passed by the Senate on March 24, 2023. Passed by the House on May 9, 2023. The Legislature has adjourned. Pending Governor’s signature.

Massachusetts

Relate to the humane protection of animals. Would establish a task force established to complete a systematic review of the laws pertaining to animal cruelty and protection including any legislative recommendation. The task force would include representatives from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the Massachusetts Bar Association; and at least one veterinarian and one animal control officer. No zoological or agricultural members. Heard in Committee on April 4, 2023.


New Jersey

  • NJ AB 2354

  • NJ SB 981

Establishes procedures for seizure, care, and forfeiture of animals involved in animal cruelty violations. Primarily impacts dogs and other domestic companion animals but some provisions would apply to all animals. SB 981, which had previously passed the Senate, was amended and passed by the Assembly on 6/1/2023. Referred back to the Senate for concurrence.

  • NJ SB 2922

Establishes offense of reckless trespass involving wild animals; establishes penalties; establishes liability for resulting harm to wild animals. Reported from Judiciary Committee and referred to Budget Committee on May 18, 2023.


New York

The NY State Assembly has returned for a limited two day special session. As the Senate has not returned, only the bills that have already passed the Senate are likely to be taken up and likely only few. Only two of the bills that ZAA has been tracking have already passed the Senate and they are listed below.

Provides that "wild animal" means indigenous, non-domesticated animals native to the country in which they live and "exotic animal" means a wild animal with an origin of a different continent; adds certain wild or exotic animals to the list of non-companion animals including Kangaroos, Wallabies, and Tree-Kangaroos, to the list of wild and exotic animals that could not be owned as pets. Aimed at Suffolk County Sloth store. Amended to remove certain species (ostriches, emus, cassowaries). Passed by the Senate.

Enacts the "Big Five African Trophies Act" relating to banning the importation, transportation and possession of certain African wildlife species and products. Reported (passed) out of committee on February 7, 2023. Passed Senate.


North Carolina

  • NC HB 540

Expands upon the offense of animal cruelty to also make it a Class 1 misdemeanor to deprive an animal of adequate shelter or adequate space or to cause any animal to be deprived of the same. Adds and defines the terms adequate shelter, extreme weather, and lawful hunt. Excludes from the offense under the statute the use of a dog in a lawful hunt.

  • NC SB 719

Concerning cruelty to animals, as follows. Expands upon the offense to also make it a Class 1 misdemeanor to deprive an animal of adequate shelter or adequate space or to cause any animal to be deprived of the same. Adds and defines the terms adequate shelter, adequate space, freedom of movement, extreme weather, and lawful hunt. Adds to the exclusions from the offense under the statute the use of a dog in a lawful hunt. Similar to NC HB 540.

Pennsylvania

  • PA HB 1113

Revises requirements related to the issuance of special licenses and permits for exotic wildlife possession permits and for menagerie permits. Among other things would prohibit permits for traveling exhibitions and private ownership. Could impact educational exhibits.

  • PA HB 1114

Creates new prohibitions and criminal offenses related to transporting traveling animal acts for purposes of performance.


Rhode Island

  • RI HB 5703 Makes it unlawful to conduct/sponsor/walk/exhibit/or operate a traveling show or circus with live wild or exotic animals. Contains exception for educational exhibits. No accreditation requirement. Bill was part of a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on February 28, 2023. On March 1, 2023 the Committee Recommended measure be held for further study.

South Carolina


Relating to custody and care of animals after the arrest of the owner. Outlines hearing procedures for ordering the cost of care of seized animals. Would allow a court to order an animal owner to pay the costs of care for confiscated animals while animal cruelty charges are pending. The House bill has passed out of the House and both bills are now pending in the Senate. Regular session ended and Legislature is now in a Special Session.

Wisconsin

  • WI SB 126

  • WI AB 124

Amends the definition of “public zoos and aquariums” for purposes of captive wildlife regulations to include those that are accredited members of ZAA.

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