CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A push to ban exotic or wild animals from circuses in Charlotte has gotten the OK from leaders.
City Council met on Monday, Dec. 13, and passed a motion, 6-4, that would ban these types of animals from performing in traveling acts.
On Monday’s agenda, two amendments to the original animal ordinance were presented, but a ban was not included.
After public comments and speakers shared their views, City Council member Matt Newton made the motion for the ban.
A substitute motion was then made for amendment A for the animal ordinance, which failed 6-4. Newton’s motion was then brought back to the floor and passed.
RELATED: City Council defers vote on ordinance that would ban bullhooks, other devices used on circus animals
Below is what is considered an exotic or wild animal in the City of Charlotte, according to the city’s code of ordinances:
Exotic or wild animal means an animal that would ordinarily be confined to a zoo; one that would ordinarily be found in the wilderness of this or any other country; one that is a species of animal not indigenous to the United States or to North America; or one that otherwise is likely to cause a reasonable person to be fearful of significant destruction of property or of bodily harm, and the latter includes, but is not limited to, monkeys, raccoons, squirrels, ocelots, bobcats, wolves, hybrid wolves, venomous reptiles, and other such animals. Such animals are further defined as being those mammals or nonvenomous reptiles weighing over 50 pounds at maturity, which are known at law as Ferae nature. Exotic or wild animals specifically do not include animals of a species customarily used in the state as ordinary household pets, animals of a species customarily used in the state as domestic farm animals, fish confined in an aquarium other than piranha, birds, or insects.
According to emails obtained by WCNC Charlotte, the ban would not apply to dogs, cats or even horses since none of the animals are considered exotic or wild under city code. The language in the emails says the ban would include circuses.
Below is the language of what the ban will mean. This following information was provided in the emails:
Sec. 3-73. – Exotic or wild animals.
Unlawful act. It shall be unlawful for any person to keep, maintain, possess or have under his control within the city any venomous reptile or any other wild or exotic animal.
Exceptions. This section shall not apply to lawfully operated and located pet shops, zoological gardens, scientific research laboratories,
circuses, veterinarians harboring such animals for purposes of providing professional medical treatment, wildlife rehabilitators with proper permits, or exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture displaying such animals for educational purposes, provided that the animals are maintained in a manner so as to prevent escape.
Permits not authorized; effects of annexation. Permits for the keeping or maintenance of wild or exotic animals are not authorized. Persons in newly annexed areas have 30 days from the date of annexation to comply with this section.
Compliance with state and federal regulations and safe confinement. The confinement of exotic or wild animals exempted from subsection (a) of this section by subsection (b) of this section must meet the regulations promulgated by the state wildlife commission, the minimum standards under the Animal Welfare Act and all applicable rules promulgated by the United States Department of Agriculture. In addition to meeting these minimum standards, all such venomous reptiles and all such wild or exotic animals shall be confined, restrained or controlled in such a manner so that the physical safety, or property, of any person lawfully entering the premises shall not be endangered.
Presence on public rights-of-way. Animals described under subsection (a) of this section but exempt under subsection (b) of this section shall not be allowed on any public street, sidewalk, or other public way, except in a fully enclosed cage or adequate structural restraint. The use of a leash, with or without a muzzle, shall not be considered adequate restraint.
Exempt from this subsection are animals that are part of a featured performance at a special event with a city festival or parade permit where the animal handler is licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture.
RELATED: Charlotte city leaders to further discuss exotic animal ordinance
According to Four Paws in US, Charlotte now joins Asheville, Chapel Hill and Orange County cities that have either taken preventative measures, or are taking preventative measures, for exotic or wild animals in circuses.
WCNC Charlotte has reached out to the city to see when the ban would go into effect.
You can watch the full Charlotte City Council meeting below.
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