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  • Writer's pictureSheri Sublett

Updates of Existing Bills

“Working Animals Protection Act”. Provides that no county or town may enact any ordinance or law that prohibits or unduly restricts a person from using a “Working Animal” in a lawful commerce or animal enterprise. Amended so that “animal enterprise” is limited to rodeos and agriculture. Vetoed by the Governor.


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.


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.

Revises penalty for certain release or escape of nonnative venomous reptiles; provides penalty for specified activities involving venomous reptiles without special permit or license issued by FWCC. Both these bills have been amended to focus release related penalties on nonnative venomous species. The bills have essentially been combined as HB 1161 which has passed both the House and the Senate. The legislative session is scheduled to end on May 5, 2023.

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 House Agriculture Committee on April 18, 2023. Pending on the House Calendar.

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. Passed out of Committee, pending floor action in the Assembly.

  • TEXAS HB 3482

Relating to the possession of dangerous wild animals and live nonindigenous snakes in certain counties and municipalities and increases criminal penalties. Would prohibit issuance of a state permit for animals if the species is banned in the city or county. Also would not allow permits for regulated venomous snakes unless antivenom is available at a hospital within 50 miles of the location the snake is kept. Committee substitute with antivenom requirement removed and bill passed out of committee.


To prohibit the sale, exchange, trade or breeding of cetaceans and to limit their time on public display. Deadline for Committee action has passed.

  • CT HB 5123

Would prohibit any traveling performances using various zoological species. While clearly targeting circuses the definition of “performance” is broad and could potentially be construed to apply to off-site educational programs. The Joint Committee on Environment held a hearing on Monday February 27, 2023. ZAA submitted testimony in opposition. On Committee agenda for Friday March 10, 2023 with no action taken (held in Committee). Deadline for Committee action has passed.


  • FL SB 1006

  • FL HB 989

Authorizes court to order that a separate advocate be appointed in interests of justice for certain civil & criminal proceedings regarding animal's welfare; provides judge's decision denying appointment is not subject to appeal; provides requirements for individual to serve as advocate.

  • FL HB 1229

  • FL HB 1298

Concerns endangered and threatened Species. Directs FWCC to protect endangered or threatened species, regardless of status of their federal classification; revises criteria for placement of species on Regulated Plant Index by DACS; directs department, in consultation with Endangered Plant Advisory Council, to protect certain endangered or threatened species, reenacts laws relating to site-specific location information for endangered & threatened species & prohibitions relating to Florida panther.


  • IL HB 3695

Prohibits use of “exotic animals” in a traveling animal act w Defines "exotic animal" as any animal that is native to a foreign country or of foreign origin or character, is not native to the United States, or was introduced from abroad including, but not limited to, lions, tigers, leopards, elephants, camels, antelope, anteaters, kangaroos, and water buffalo and species of foreign domestic cattle, such as Ankole, Gayal, and Yak or a wild animal. Does NOT apply to an exhibition of exotic animals at a non-mobile, permanent institution, or other facility. Committee hearing held on Tuesday March 7 and Thursday March 9, 2023. Bill was re-referred to the Rules Committee and missed the deadline for advancing out of Committee.


  • MA HB 3245 (was HD 3142)

  • MA SB 2197 (was SD 1443) - Sponsor Bruce Tarr

  • MA SB 2189 (was SD 1533)

Prohibit the use of elephants, big cats, primates, giraffes, and bears in traveling exhibits and shows.

Formalizes the category of endangered species (bill language not available yet).

  • MA HB 1718

  • MA SB 1142

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.


Would repeal certain exceptions to prohibition on taking endangered species of plants. Does not reference animals, only plants.

New Jersey

  • NJ AB 2354

  • NJ SB 981

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.

New York

  • NY SB 3302 (= NY AB 584)

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.

  • NY AB 111

Relates to the creation of a court appointed advocate for animals.

Prohibits circuses from conducting shows or other performances in the state for two years where a circus has been found to be in violation or in non-compliance with the federal Animal Welfare Act.

  • NY AB 518

Prohibits the possession and transport of certain animals and body parts thereof at airports and port facilities owned or operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; includes the big five African species, species determined to be endangered by the commissioner of the department of environmental conservation, those that appear on the list of nongame species or appear on any federal list of endangered or threatened species, or has been proposed to be included on any such list.

Prohibits certain acts in rodeos.

  • NY AB 584 (= SB 3302)

Enacts the "Big Five African Trophies Act" relating to banning the importation, transportation and possession of certain African wildlife species and products.

Includes wildlife animals as those subject to the animal cruelty provisions of the agriculture and markets law.

Includes wildlife animals as those subject to the animal cruelty provisions of the agriculture and markets law.

Prohibits the taking of non-native big game mammals in a fenced or other area from which there is no means for such mammals to escape. Expands restrictions on so-called “canned hunts”.

  • NY SB 590

Prohibits any person from transporting, holding, buying, selling, giving, receiving or marketing a nonambulatory animal unless such animal is first humanely euthanized without undue delay.

Relates to the provision of financial assistance to museums, zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums and other cultural institutions located in low-income urban, suburban or rural communities, or that provide educational services to students from such communities.

  • NY SB 4363

  • NY AB 4005

Prohibits the issuance of permits authorizing the use of wild animals in circuses or traveling animal acts; excepts a wildlife sanctuary and a facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

  • NY AB 3545

  • NY SB 5898

Prohibits the administration of psychoactive drugs to an animal in a zoo in order to allow another animal to procreate with such an animal. Same as NY AB 3545.

  • NY AB 5778

Excludes dogs, cats and any other domesticated animals from the definition of "wildlife" under NY environmental and conservation law.

North Carolina

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.

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.


  • OR HB 3214

Prohibits use of an extensive list of animals in traveling performances. Contains exemptions for AZA, WAZA and sanctuaries and for some educational programs. A hearing was held before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday March 16, 2023. ZAA submitted written opposition. A second hearing was scheduled for Thursday March 30, 2023 with a Committee work session on the bill scheduled for Monday April 3, 2023. However the bill has been removed from both those agendas and no further action on it is expected.

Rhode Island

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

  • SC HB 456

  • SC HB 3682

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. Passed out of the Judiciary Committee.


Relating to the treatment for ad valorem tax purposes of exotic animals raised or kept for agricultural use.


  • WA SB 5148

  • WA HB 1157

Prohibiting the display of wild or exotic animals for public entertainment or amusement, i.e., circuses. Does not apply to persons or organizations that display wild or exotic animals for educational purposes, including those persons or organizations that are accredited or available for accreditation by “the American zoological association” or by the association of sanctuaries. This language is unclear but may be an attempt to specifically exempt AZA facilities. Both bills were left in committee. No further action expected.


  • 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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