The Trend is to Ban Private Possession


In June 2002, 19 states ban or partially ban private ownership of big cats, 15 require only a license or permit and 16 have no regulations at all.


In June 2013 29 states ban or partially ban private possession of big cats, 20 require only a license or permit and only 2 have no regulation at all. (WI and WV)


In Dec 2003 the Captive Wildlife Safety Act passed, making it illegal to transfer a big cat (incl cougars and cheetah) across state lines as pets.


States who have passed bans or partial bans since 2005 are:


StainedGlassTigerJax2005-2007 Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland passed legislation banning the ownership of certain dangerous animals such as lions, tigers, bears, wolves and primates.



2007 WA, LA (could not breed or replace them, nor take them offsite, except to the vet), IA (improved their ban to include traveling acts),


2007 New York, California, Wyoming, Oregon and Wisconsin outlawed canned hunts. FL: 2007 passed laws restricting cougars as pets and requiring 10k bond for Class I



2008 MO (stepped up their ban to require micro chipping, DNA sampling, and registration, including DOB, DOD.)


2009 OR decides to no longer regulate, but simply ban the possession of non domestic cats and other wild animals.


2010 MO steps up their laws to require 250k insurance and prohibit felons from owning dangerous exotics. FL bans fox penning.


2011 OH passes a ban on the private possession of big cats, bears, primates, alligators, crocodiles, and particularly large and dangerous constricting snakes and venomous snakes. It is thrown out by the incoming Governor, until the Zanesville tragedy strikes a few months later.


2012 OH passes a ban on the private possession of dangerous wild animals, including most exotic cats. Those who have the animals must register them but cannot buy or breed more. The only exemptions for breeding are AZA accredited zoos and ZAA and sanctuaries that are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries



Other countries, who already ban private possession of exotic cats in most cases, step up their bans to include circuses.



2008 Australia banned import of Savannah Cats, Malaysia bans ALL hunting, Brazil bans wild animals in circuses, CITES Decision 14.69: Parties with intensive operations breeding tigers on a commercial scale shall implement measures to restrict the captive population to a level supportive only to conserving wild tigers; tigers should not be bred for trade in their parts and derivatives. (Most of the tiger breeding in the U.S. is for photo booths and petting sessions. None of the breeding of generic tigers does anything to conserve wild tigers.


2009 Bolivia bans the use of wild animals in circuses. Bahrain steps up security to prevent wild animals from being imported as pets, where it is already illegal, British Columbia bans 1,256 exotic animals as pets.


2010 Russia bans private possession of monkeys, tigers, and crocodiles. China bans the use of zoo animals in circus type shows.


2011 The American Zoological Association formalized their 2008 ban on the breeding of white tigers, white lions or king cheetahs by their member zoos. Their report said, “Breeding practices that increase the physical expression of single rare alleles (i.e., rare genetic traits) through intentional inbreeding, for example intentional breeding to achieve rare color-morphs such as white tigers, deer, and alligators, has been clearly linked with various abnormal, debilitating, and, at times, lethal, external and internal conditions and characteristics, which are outlined in this paper.”


Also in 2011 both China and England ban the use of wild animals in circuses. Sweden, Austria, Costa Rica, India, Finland, Bolivia, Greece and Singapore have all recently (prior to 2011) banned or restricted the utilization of big cats in circuses.


2012 China bans posing with tiger cubs. Greece, Bogata, Columbia and Paraguay Ban Wild Animals in Circus Acts. The UAE bans the private possession of dangerous wild animals. The Holland Circus gives up their wild cat act.


2013 Slovenia bans the use of wild animals in circuses.


Details at

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  1. I'm happy to see that the bans are starting to spread. People shouldn't be able to own these animals. It's dangerous and completely unfair to the animal as most people do not know how to properly care for them. Thanks for the update BCR!

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