Born Free USA Position: SUPPORT
This bill amends the Criminal Law code in the following ways:
Makes changes to the categories exempted from the current prohibition on sale, trade, barter, possess, breed, or exchange of most exotics:1. Only exhibitors accredited by AZA or a facility that coordinates with AZA qualify for this exemption.
2. Adds a prohibition on public contact with animals to the definition of a sanctuary.
3. Adds circuses with a USDA Class C Exhibitor’s license to the list of exempted facilities, provided that they do not allow public contact.
4. The holder of a Class C Exhibitor’s license may not import into the state, offer for sale, trade, barter, possess, breed, or exchange any nonhuman primate, bear, lion, tiger, leopard, clouded leopard, snow leopard, jaguar, cheetah, cougar, or a hybrid of one of these animals.
Maryland law prohibits the private possession of certain dangerous wild animals, including big cats, bears, and primates. However, a loophole allows many exotic pet owners and unqualified facilities to continue to keep, breed, and acquire these species by obtaining a USDA license. A recent report by the Humane Society of the United States uncovered serious animal welfare and public safety concerns at three of Maryland's roadside zoos (USDA licensed facilities). These problems included violations related to attacks, escapes, and inadequate veterinary care. This bill would address the loophole by prohibiting unaccredited roadside zoos from keeping especially dangerous wild animals.
Maryland residents, use this form to contact your state legislators and ask them to support this bill!