A new General Assembly bill would bar keeping dangerous wild animals as pets.
In addition to making it unlawful for any person to possess, sell, transfer, or breed a dangerous wild animal, House Bill 554, "Protect Public from Dangerous Wild Animals," also makes illegal the act of coming into direct physical contact with a dangerous wild animal.
The new law would not apply to anyone who purchased a dangerous wild animal prior to June 1, 2015. So if you want to buy a pet jaguar, buy him now.
So what exactly constitutes a dangerous wild animal? Look no further than the bill, which reads like a science lesson.
These animals belong to the Canidae family, including canis rufus (red wolves) and canis lupus (gray wolves); the Felidae family, including panthera leo (lions), panthera tigris (tigers), panthera pardus (leopards), panthera onca (jaguars), acinonyx jubatus (cheetahs), and puma concolor (mountain lions); the Hyaenidae family (hyena and aardwolves); and the Ursidae family (bears);
Dangerous animals also cover Order Primates of all species except, well, humans.
There are several exemptions in the bill, making it permissible for the following parties to possess dangerous wild animals: zoos, aquariums, research facilities, wlidlife sanctuaries, animal protection organizations, veterinary hospitals and clinics, law enforcement officers, circuses, and out-of-state travelers passing through North Carolina, provided they don't stick around for more than a day.
Anyone else caught with a dangerous wild animal would be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor and forced to give up to $5,000, along with the animal. There would be one charge for each animal.
The bill is sponsored by four republicans: Chuck McGrady, Pat Hurley, Jon Hardister and Jason Saine.