The bill would amend the Large Carnivore Act to exempt from the Act a person who allowed a patron to have direct or close contact with a bear that was under 36 weeks of age or weighed not more than 90 pounds, if the person met other criteria in the Act.
The Act prohibits the possession of a "large carnivore" without a permit; regulates their handling and care; and specifies owners' responsibilities in instances of attacks. "Large carnivore" is defined as a bear or any of the following cats: a lion, leopard, jaguar, tiger, cougar, panther, or cheetah.
The Act does not apply to a U.S. Department of Agriculture Class C (animal exhibitor) licensee that meets all of the following:
-- Conducts a business whose primary purpose is the presentation of animals to the public for education or exhibition and that is not conducted in connection with another business as a means of attracting customers to that other business.
-- Meets or exceeds all standards required of a Class C licensee.
-- Does not allow a patron to come into direct contact with a large carnivore, or come into close enough contact with a large carnivore over 20 weeks of age that will place the patron in jeopardy of being harmed by the large carnivore.
-- Does not sell large carnivores, except to someone who meets this exemption.
-- Does not breed large carnivores.
Under the bill, a licensee could not allow a patron to come into direct contact with a large carnivore other than a bear less than 36 weeks of age or a bear weighing 90 pounds or less. The prohibition against allowing a patron to come into close contact with a large carnivore over 20 weeks old would not apply to a bear less than 36 weeks of age or a bear weighing not more than 90 pounds.
The bill also would delete the prohibition against a Class C licensee's business being conducted in connection with another business as a means of attracting customers to that other business.
The bill would have no fiscal impact on State or local government.
This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan Senate staff for use by the Senate in its deliberations and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.