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Relating to dangerous wild animals; providing penalties; creating a criminal offense; authorizing a fee.
According to the Legislative Budget Board, no fiscal impact to the state is anticipated.
SB 641 would prohibit a person from owning, possessing, selling, transferring, breeding, or having custody or control of a dangerous wild animal, with some exceptions. A "dangerous wild animal" means a baboon, bear, cheetah, chimpanzee, clouded leopard, cougar, gorilla, hyena, jaguar, leopard, lion, macaque, orangutan, snow leopard, tiger, or hybrid or subspecies of these animals. Certain exceptions apply.
One of those exceptions includes a person holding a Class A, B, or C license issued by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act. Additionally, an exception applies to an owner lawfully in possession of a dangerous wild animal before September 1, 2019, if the owner annually registers with the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and pays the registration fee, among other things.
This bill would also subject a person who violates the provisions of this bill to civil and criminal penalties (Class A misdemeanor).
Texas Action is opposed to SB 641 because it violates the principles of limited government and individual liberty. It is not the role of the state to regulate what animals are unfit for citizens to possess on their own private property, so long as the animals are not subject to animal cruelty and are properly contained.