Sacramento, CA — The Animal Protection Institute (API) applauds Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for signing into law a bill that will implement, enforce, and improve the state’s existing exotic animal laws. AB 820, sponsored by API and introduced by Assemblywoman Audra Strickland following an incident involving a loose 352-pound tiger in her district, will provide greater protections for exotic animals residing within the state of California.
The new law requires that wild animal facilities be properly inspected by trained individuals; that dangerous exotic animals be identified with some form of marker; and that the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) adopt regulations regarding the breeding of animals, to the use of lethal force during capture, and reporting requirements when new animals are obtained, die, or are transferred. It also allows for a new owner of a confiscated animal to recoup costs for rescuing the animal, and significantly increases the penalties for violating the law.
“Since 1985, California has had better laws than most states on exotic animal issues, but the laws have not been properly implemented or enforced, nor were they adequate to protect the public safety and the animals,” said Nicole Paquette, API’s Director of Legal and Government Affairs. “AB 820 will go a long way toward ensuring that facilities are in compliance with the law and that the animals are properly treated — or the care providers will pay the price.”
Assemblywoman Audra Strickland (R-37th District), who introduced this legislation following the escape of a tiger in her district, said, “I am very pleased that the Governor signed AB 820. This bill puts into place much needed public safety measures and animal welfare provisions, which will better ensure that incidents like the one in my district will not happen again.”
API has long worked to improve California’s exotic animal regulations. In 2001, its analysis of the failures in the implementation and enforcement of California laws culminated in a lawsuit with the Fund for Animals against the DFG. The lawsuit was settled shortly after being filed, and AB 820 will ensure that some of the settlement provisions are implemented.
Governor Schwarzenegger has taken a strong stand on animal issues in 2005 by signing four other animal measures, including: (1) SB 1028, a bill to ban Internet hunting; (2) SB 861, a bill to allow counties and cities to adopt a spay/neuter program for certain dog breeds; (3) SB 914, requiring that all puppies sold in California be at least eight weeks of age; and (4) AB 1426, a bill prohibiting the administration of intra-cardiac puncture, or “heart shots,” on conscious animals as a form of euthanasia.
API, a national nonprofit animal advocacy organization, works to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. API works nationally on exotic animal legislation and has extensive information relating to wild animals in captivity, including incidents involving dangerous exotic animals in private possession. For more information, visit www.MoreBeautifulWild.com.
Nicole Paquette, Animal Protection Institute (API), Director of Legal and Government Affairs, 916-622-7170