Animal Protection Groups Applaud Passage of Bill Prohibiting Wild Animals as Pets in Iowa
April 18, 2007
DES MOINES, Iowa – The Animal Rescue League of Iowa and The Humane Society of the United States today praised state lawmakers for passing a bill to prohibit the private possession of dangerous wild animals. It passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 80 to 19 last night.
The animal welfare groups thanked Sen. Joe Seng (D-43), who is a veterinarian, and Rep. Todd Taylor (D-34), for shepherding the bill through to passage. The legislation now goes to Governor Culver and the organizations urge him to sign it into law.
"Iowa is part of a nationwide trend to prohibit the private ownership of exotic pets," said Tom Colvin, executive director of the Animal Rescue League. "We applaud state lawmakers for passing this important legislation to protect both public safety and animal welfare."
"Wild animals can attack, they can spread deadly disease, and the average citizen cannot meet their needs in captivity," added Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The Humane Society of the United States. "Whether lions, tigers, bears, wolves, monkeys, or dangerous reptiles, these wild animals belong in the wild, not in our bedrooms and basements."
The new law will prohibit the future acquisition of wild animals as pets. People who already have these animals will be able to keep them. Grandfathered animals must be registered and microchipped. Generally, they must remain in their primary enclosures. The law has no impact on zoos, the state fair, research facilities, wildlife rehabilitators, and other exempt entities.
With the passage of this legislation, all but about ten states have some restrictions on keeping wild animals as pets. A bill passed in Washington State earlier this week, and bills are now being considered by state legislatures in North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon.