Finally, Wild Cat ‘Ownership’ Could Be Banned Under The Big Cat Public Safety Act

There are more tigers living in cramped backyards in Texas than there are in the wild.

At roadside zoos, shady people like Joseph Maldonado-Passage, Joe “Exotic” of Tiger King fame, breed big cats like rabbits so they have an endless supply of cubs to steal from their mothers before they’re weaned, pumped full of sedatives, and handed off to tourists who take selfies with them but never stop to consider the welfare of those baby cats or the harm they’re enabling.

And in states like Florida, where “Muh freedoms!” reign supreme over all other values, people can own any wild animals they want, with no real oversight and no mechanisms to ensure they’re doing right by the animals. There’s nothing forcing “exotic” animal “owners” to keep the big cats, monkeys and other mammals in proper enclosures where they have stimulation and — just as importantly — won’t escape and hurt neighbors.

India the tiger Transported to BBR
India the tiger was still just a cub when he was spotted wandering through residential neighborhoods in Texas, where he’d been dumped by his former “owner.” Credit: Humane Society

Thankfully, things could change soon as lawmakers are expected to vote on the Big Cat Public Safety Act, a rare bipartisan effort that would finally make it illegal to keep tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, cheetahs, pumas and other wildcats privately, whether in homes, businesses or non-accredited “zoos.”

Currently keeping big cats is illegal or severely restricted in most states, but like many things in the US, there’s a confusing patchwork of laws and things that would be unthinkable in other states are perfectly acceptable in places like Texas and Florida.

Because, you know, “muh freedoms.”

Now is a good time to point out that this blog has always been, and will remain, politically agnostic. I have my own political beliefs as any other person does, but PITB is a cat humor, news and advocacy blog, and the only politics we discuss here are those that relate to animal welfare. Equally important, Buddy and I want people of all political persuasions to feel comfortable as readers and commenters on PITB. (Although that could change if one or both political parties suddenly makes a move against the nation’s Strategic Turkey Supply. Then Buddy’s gonna have to get biblical.)

The Big Cat Safety Act is co-sponsored in congress by representatives Mike Quickly, D-IL, and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-PA, and in the senate by senators Susan Collins, R-ME, Tom Carpenter, D-DE, Richard Burr, R-NC, and Richard Blumenthal, D-CT.

It’s endorsed by a wide range of groups, from the National Association of Zoos and Aquariums to the Humane Society and various bar associations. The proposed legislation also has the support of the White House, which released a statement this week urging its passage.

If your congressional representative or your senators aren’t publicly on board with the Big Cat Safety Act, you can make your voice heard via the Humane Society’s site, which allows you to draft and send letters to the offices of your lawmakers.

shallow focus photography of cheetah
Cheetahs, already critically endangered, have been almost entirely wiped out by poachers who sell their cubs on the illegal wildlife market. Credit: Magda Ehlers/Pexels

11 thoughts on “Finally, Wild Cat ‘Ownership’ Could Be Banned Under The Big Cat Public Safety Act”

  1. Bella is very clear on this, “ownership” by any Human of any wildlife whatsoever is an offence that should be punished very very very severely. John supports this approach and agrees it is not a political issue but an issue of life – “muh freedoms” are political and have nothing to do with the lives of our fellow earthlings. You have our 100% support from the UK

    Liked by 2 people

  2. How horrible for the animals involved!!! LEAVE NATURE ALONE!!! How would the people “owning” these animals feel if they were owned?? Not so good, I’d imagine. The end.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Iss about time these lawss were enforced! Big CATSS are not catss like us. They are WILD an FERAL an need to bee inn their propurr enviromintss; not iss sum IDIOT’S cage inn their backyard! That iss NO LIFE for a Big CAT!
    Thanx Buddy an Big Buddy fore sharin this mewss!
    ***purrss*** BellaDharma an ((hugss)) BellaSita Mum

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only bad thing is that existing “owners” will be grandfathered in, which sucks for those animals, but it’s probably to avoid legal issues from the government “taking” the “property” of private citizens. That’s my guess, anyway.


  4. While this sounds wonderful, when do we address the issue of those “tourists?” These private “zoos” wouldn’t exist if the ignorant didn’t support them. How has society evolved into idiots who have such nonexistent selfworth that they must post selfies with sedated wild animals babies?

    Liked by 1 person

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