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For Immediate Release: 04/30/07

Washington bans wild animals as pets

Gov. Gregoire signs historic bill after seven-year effort by animal and public safety advocates

Olympia, WA — After seven years of debate, Gov. Christine Gregoire will today sign HB 1418, the “Dangerous Wild Animal Bill,” into law. The Animal Protection Institute (API) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) commend state lawmakers for passage of the bill which prohibits the private possession of dangerous wild animals such as cougars, tigers, bears, monkeys, and dangerous reptiles.

“Passage of this bill puts Washington State back at the forefront of nationwide progressive animal legislation by boasting one of the best state laws in the country,” says Nicole Paquette, Director of Legal & Government Affairs for API.

“Wild animals belong in the wild, not in our bedrooms and basements. Keeping them as exotic pets is dangerous for both public safety and the welfare of the animals,” says Jennifer Hillman, Washington State Government Affairs Coordinator for The HSUS.

Passage of HB 1418 makes Washington the 40th state to adopt laws regulating the private ownership of dangerous wild animals.

A recent Washington state investigation conducted by API documented stories of serious, unreported attacks by animals; people, including children, being allowed direct contact with dangerous animals at USDA-licensed facilities, a violation of federal law; poor animal care conditions; and inadequate and unsafe barriers.

“We applaud Washington state for taking a strong stand on this issue and are excited to see it serve as a role model of progressive legislation other states will follow,” adds Paquette.

Today, The HSUS also released its comprehensive “Humane Index,”, ranking the Seattle area #2 among American big cities on animal welfare issues. “It’s fitting that this important animal welfare bill is being signed on the very same day that Seattle is named one of the nation’s most humane metropolitan areas for animals,” Hillman noted.

The Animal Protection Institute (API) is a national non-profit animal advocacy organization working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. API also manages a Primate Sanctuary that is currently home to more than 400 primates, many of whom were rescued from abusive or exploitative private ownership situations. For more information, visit www.api4animals.org.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization — backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — on the web at humanesociety.org.

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Contact:
Jennifer Hillman, The Humane Society of the United States, 206-818-7758
Zibby Wilder, Animal Protection Institute, 206-898-7872

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