Big cat law gets its claws

Big cat law gets its claws

New ‘fangs’ can bite all who violate wildlife law

Daily News 


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has produced the regulations needed to implement the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, a locally-generated federal law to limit interstate and Internet sales of exotic big cats.

The initial legislation was co-authored by U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, at the urging of actress Tippi Hedren, who runs a sanctuary for lions, tigers and other exotic animals – many of them discarded pets nursed back to health at her Shambala Preserve in Acton.


President George W. Bush signed the bill into law in December 2003, but it had no teeth until the Fish and Wildlife Service drew up regulations and penalties.


"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spelled out why keeping big cats as pets is dangerous and inhumane," Richard Farinato of the Humane Society of the United States said in a prepared statement. "Wild animals don’t belong in our backyards and basements. These are time bombs waiting to explode in our communities."


The law prohibits interstate or Internet trade or transfer of live lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, cougars or any hybrid combination of these species, unless certain exceptions are met. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 exotic cats, such as lions and tigers, are kept as pets in the United States, according to the Humane Society.


The law does not affect federally licensed exhibitors, such as zoos and circuses, academic institutions, veterinarians and accredited wildlife sanctuaries.


The guidelines recently filed in the Federal Register state that these animals are "never completely tamed; nor are they totally predictable, even if they have lived their entire lives with humans." A 30-day public comment period will end March 2.


Violations of the ban on interstate shipments of the animals are subject to a prison term of up to five years and fines up to $250,000 for an individual or $500,000 for an organization.


To send a comment to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for inclusion go here:


For the cats,


Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

an Educational Sanctuary home

to more than 150 big cats

12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

813.920.4130 fax 885.4457 cell 493.4564


Meet our recent mountain lion cub rescues:


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