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Circus/Animals in Entertainment: Related Statutes

Statute Name Citation Summary
AK - Elephants - Article 1. Buffalo, Musk Oxen, Elk, and Elephants   AK ST 16.40.010 - 060   This section of Alaska laws concerns the disposition of surplus buffalo and musk oxen as well as the requirements for obtaining a permit for elephants. An elephant permit may be issued only to a person who intends to exhibit the animal commercially; possesses facilities to maintain the animal under positive control and humane conditions; and maintains personal injury and property damage insurance in an amount established by the commissioner.  
AK - Zoo - 09.65.180. Civil liability of zoos   AK ST 09.65.180   The Alaska law provides that, except as provided in (b), a person who owns or operates a zoo is strictly liable for injury to a person or property if the injury is caused by an animal owned by or in the custody of the zoo.  
AL - Wildlife - 9-2-13. Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources -- Authority to prohibit importation of birds, animals, fish, etc.   AL ST 9-2-13   This Alabama law provides that the Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources may, by regulation, prohibit the importation of any animal when such importation is not in the best interest of the state. However, this does not apply to those animals used for display purposes at circuses, carnivals, zoos, and other shows or exhibits. Importing a prohibited animal into the state is a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of $1,000 - 5,000, or jail for 30 days, or both.  
AL - Wildlife, Captive - Article 11. Possession of Wildlife for Public Exhibition Purposes.   AL ST 9-11-320 to 328   This set of Alabama laws relates to the possession of captive wildlife. The Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources may issue an annual permit to possess wildlife for public exhibition to a person qualified by education or experience in the care and treatment of wildlife at at a cost of $25.00. Violation of any provision of the article results in a fine of not more than $500.00, imprisonment for not more than three months, or both. Notably, the provisions of the article do not apply to any municipal, county, state or other publicly owned zoo or wildlife exhibit, privately owned traveling zoo or circus or pet shop.  
CA - Circus - 25989.1. Notice to animal control services agency of performances to be conducted   CA HLTH & S 25989.1   This California section provides that any traveling circus or carnival must notify entity that provides animal control services for a city, county, or city and county in which the traveling circus or carnival intends to perform of its intent to perform within that jurisdiction at least 14 days prior to the first performance in that city, county, or city and county. Violation results in a fine of $500 - 2,000 for a first violation, and $1,500 - 5,000 for any subsequent violation.  
CA - Enforcement - Chapter 5. Arrest, by Whom and How Made.   CA PENAL 837, 847   This set of provisions authorizes private citizens to make arrests and explains when and how citizen arrests may be made.  
CA - Entertainment - Title 4. Motion Pictures (use of animals)   CA CIVIL 3504 - 3508.2   This section of laws provides that it is a nuisance to exhibit a motion picture that depicts any intentional killing of, or cruelty to, a human being or an animal where such intentional killing of, or cruelty to, a human being or an animal actually occurred in the production of the motion picture for the purpose of such production created after January 1, 1979. An action may be brought to abate and prevent the nuisance by the relevant county's district attorney or the California Attorney General. Any violation or disobedience of an injunction or order expressly provided for by this title is punishable as a contempt of court by a fine of not less than two hundred dollars ($200) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).  
CA - Rodeos - 596.7. Rodeos; veterinarians present at performances; violation of section   CA PENAL 596.7   This statute regulating rodeos requires that animals involved have access to veterinary care and mandates treatment of injured rodeo animals. This statute forbids the use of  an electric prod once an animal is in the holding chute, unless necessary to protect participants or spectators. Violations of this section are infractions punishable by a fine.
 
CA - Zoo - 602.13. Entering animal enclosure at zoo, circus, or traveling animal exhibit; punishment; exceptions; other prosecution not precluded   CA PENAL 602.13   This law makes it an infraction for a person to enter into an animal enclosure at a zoo, circus, or traveling animal exhibit if that facility is licensed or permitted to display animals and if it posts signs prohibiting entrance into the animal enclosures.  
FL - Agriculture & Consumer Services - Department Duties and Enforcement   FL ST 585.001 - 585.007   This set of laws explains the powers and duties of the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services in enforcing the Animal Industry laws (Chapter 585). Any person or officer that is charged with a duty under the Animal Industry laws may be compelled to perform the same by mandamus, injunction, or other court-ordered remedy. Department employees are authorized to enter any premises in the state for the purposes of carrying out their duties under the Animal Industry laws and it is illegal for any person to interfere with the discharge of those duties.  
FL - Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services - Animal Disease Control   FL ST 585.01 - 585.69   This set of laws addresses the role of the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Division of Animal Industry in the prevention, control, or eradication of any contagious, infectious, or communicable disease among domestic or wild animals. The Department is authorized to regulate the importation, transportation, transfer of ownership, and maintenance of animals; establish quarantine areas; and inspect, test, treat, condemn, and destroy animals and animal housing facilities as necessary for the eradication of communicable diseases or the detection of harmful biological and chemical residues in food animals. The laws also direct the Department to develop a list of dangerous transmissible diseases. All veterinarians and animal owners are required to report suspected and confirmed cases of dangerous transmissible diseases to the State Veterinarian; failure to do so is a felony of the second degree.  
FL - Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services - Enforcement   FL ST 570.073, 570.15, 570.16   This set of laws authorizes the establishment of the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement within the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services for the enforcement of laws relating to wild or domesticated animals or animal products. Law enforcement officers employed by the Department have statewide jurisdiction and have full law enforcement powers granted to other peace officers of the state, including the authority to make arrests, carry firearms, serve court process, and seize contraband and the proceeds of illegal activities. It is a misdemeanor of the second degree to threaten, interfere with, or impersonate an enforcement officer or other employee of the Department.  
FL - Exhibition - Deformed Animals - Chapter 877. Miscellaneous Crimes.   FL ST 877.16   This law makes it illegal to exhibit any deformed, mutilated or disfigured animal for compensation.  
LA - Exotic animals - 2796.2. Limitation of liability for loss connected with festivals, programs, or activities sponsored by an animal sanctuary   LSA-R.S. 9:2796.2   This Louisiana law states that no person shall have a cause of action against any nonprofit organization which operates or maintains a tax-exempt animal sanctuary for any injury, death, loss, or damage in connection with the Chimp Haven Festival, Dixie Chimps art contest, Les Boutiques de Noel, SciPort and Chimp Haven events, Run Wild and Have a Field Day, Eye-20 Art Show Gala, Krewe of Barkus and Meow Paws parade, Krewe of Centaur parade, Krewe of Highland parade, garden tour, ChimpStock, and any other educational and public awareness activities in which the organization sponsors or participates, unless the loss or damage was caused by the deliberate and wanton act or gross negligence of the organization or any officer, employee, or volunteer thereof.  
MD - Dangerous Animals - Part IV. Animal Control   MD HEALTH GEN 18-217 - 222   This chapter of Maryland laws declares that it is in the public interest to ensure public health and safety by strictly regulating the possession, breeding, and importation of certain animals that pose risks to humans. Certain animals such as domestic dogs, cats, and ferrets; animal used for agricultural, scientific, or education purposes; and animals used for public exhibitions are excluded from the provisions of this section. Any person who imports, transports, sells, transfers, breeds, raises, keeps, or possesses any animal which is prohibited under regulations promulgated by the Secretary is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $500, or imprisonment not exceeding 1 year, or both.  
MI - Cruelty - Chapter 750. Michigan Penal Code.   MI ST 750.51   This Michigan law provides that no railroad company shall permit the confinement of animals in railroad cars for longer than 36 consecutive hours without unloading for rest, water, and feeding of at least 5 consecutive hours unless prevented by a storm, or other "accidental causes." Any company, owner or custodian of such animals, who does not comply with the provisions of this section, can be fined between $100 and $500 for each and every such offense. However, when animals are carried in cars where they have proper food, water, space and opportunity for rest, the provisions of this section that require unloading do not apply.  
MI - Enforcement - Chapters 760 to 777 Code of Criminal Procedure.   MI ST 764.16   This law authorizes private citizens to make arrests.  
MN - Exhibition - Chapter 97A. Game and Fish. General Provisions.   MN ST 97A.041   In Minnesota, a person may not possess wildlife in captivity for public exhibition purposes without a permit. The commissioner may issue a permit to an applicant qualified by education or experience in the care and treatment of wildlife. A permit shall include a condition that allows an enforcement officer to enter and inspect the facilities where the wildlife covered by the permit are held in captivity. A violation may result in the attorney general bringing an abatement action.  
MO - Exotic - Chapter 578. Miscellaneous Offenses. Large Carnivores   V.A.M.S. 578.600 - 578.625   The “Large Carnivore Act” pertains to large cats and bears that are nonnative to Missouri and held in captivity. The Act prohibits ownership, possession, breeding, and transportation of large carnivores (with exceptions). The Act creates civil and criminal liability for persons who own or possess a large carnivore. Violations may result in misdemeanor or felony convictions, community service work, the loss of privileges to own or possess any animal, and forfeiture of a large carnivore.  
NY - Racing - 220. Licenses for participants and employees at race meetings   McKinney's Racing, Pari Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law 220   The state racing and wagering board issues licenses to owners, trainers, assistant trainers and jockeys, jockey agents, and stable employees for horse races, including steeplechases.  
RI - Rodeo - Chapter 20. Rodeo Animals and Livestock   Gen. Laws, 1956, 4-20-1 - 9   The purpose of this chapter is to establish guidelines and criteria for rodeo and rodeo related activities relative to humane treatment of rodeo animals and rodeo livestock in the state.  
SC - Wildlife - Chapter 16. Importation of Wildlife.   Code 1976 50-16-10 - 70; 50-11-1765   This set of South Carolina laws relates to the possession of live wildlife. A permit is required for the following: the family Cervidae, a nondomestic member of the families Suidae (pigs), Tayassuidae (peccaries), Bovidae (bison, mountain goat, mountain sheep), coyote, bear, or turkey (genus Meleagris), and a "furbearer," which includes, but is not limited to, red and gray fox, raccoon, opossum, muskrat, mink, skunk, otter, bobcat, weasel, and beaver. However, wildlife imported for exhibition purposes only by state wildlife departments, municipal zoos or parks, public museums, public zoological parks, and public scientific or educational institutions operated not for profit, and transient circuses are not required to procure a permit. Under another section, release of  a member of the family Suidae (pig) into the wild is prohibited except as provided by law. Further, it is unlawful for a person to possess, transport, or otherwise bring into the state or release or introduce into the state any diseased wildlife or other animal that reasonably might be expected to pose a public health or safety hazard. Violating any permitting requirement under the chapter results in a misdemeanor with a mandatory fine of not more than $1,000 or up to 6 months imprisonment, or both.  
TX - Circus - Chapter 2152. Regulation of Circuses, Carnivals, and Zoos.   V. T. C. A., Occupations Code 2152.001 - 202   This set of Texas laws concerns the regulation of carnivals, circuses, and zoos. However, circuses are specifically exempted from regulation if they are licensed by the USDA and if the circus provides proof of (mandatory) inspection at least once a year. "Circus" is defined as a commercial variety show featuring animal acts for public entertainment. In Texas, the Texas Board of Health must adopt standards for the operation of circuses, carnivals, and zoos that promote humane conditions for animals and protect the public health and safety. A person may not operate a circus, carnival, or zoo unless the person holds a license issued under this chapter for the circus, carnival, or zoo. A person who knowingly operates a circus without a license under this chapter commits a Class C misdemeanor.  
TX - Ordinances - 215.032. Exhibitions; Shows; Amusements   V.T.C.A., Local Government Code 215.032   This statute authorizes municipalities to prohibit or regulate circuses, exhibitions, and menageries.  

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