Circus or Entertainment: Related Statutes

Statute by categorysort descending Citation Summary
AK - Elephants - Article 1. Buffalo, Musk Oxen, Elk, and Elephants AS § 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 AS § 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 - Entertainment - § 40-12-111. Horse show, rodeo, or dog and pony shows. Ala.Code 1975 § 40-12-111 This Alabama laws states that every horse show, rodeo, dog and pony show, or like exhibition or show, where any charge is made therefor, shall pay a license tax of $25 for each day of performance.
AL - Racing - § 11-65-1 to § 11-65-47. Horse Racing and Greyhound Racing in Class 1 Municipalities Ala.Code 1975 § 11-65-1 to § 11-65-47 This statute allows for municipalities in Alabama to vote on whether or not they wish to authorize horse and greyhound racing and pari-mutuel wagering. Each municipality that authorizes it must create a commission which must be incorporated in order for a municipality to conduct horse and greyhound racing. The commissions each regulate horse and greyhound racing only in their respective municipalities. A license must be obtained by the commission of the respective municipality in which one desires to operate or construct a racing facility.
AL - Wildlife - § 9-2-13. Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources -- Authority to prohibit importation of birds, anim Ala. Code 1975 § 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. Ala. Code 1975 § 9-11-320 - 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.

AR - Racing - Arkansas Greyhound Racing Law A.C.A. §§ 23-111-101 to 23-111-518 This Act gives the Arkansas Racing Commission sole jurisdiction over the business and the sport of greyhound racing. Greyhound racing may only be conducted in the State of Arkansas by a franchise that is approved by the Arkansas Racing Commission. A franchise must be a corporation organized under the state of Arkansas. A franchise may not be a individual, partnerships, associations, or trusts. A franchise may not be granted by the Commission until it is authorized by a majority of the qualified electors within the county in which the franchise intends to operate. The voters will be able to choose whether to allow or reject the Racing Commission's grant to the franchise to conduct greyhound racing. Each county is only allowed to have one franchise conducting greyhound racing.
CA - Bullfights - § 597m. Bullfights prohibited; exceptions; penalty West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597m

This statute makes it unlawful for any person to promote, advertise, stage, hold, manage, conduct, participate in, engage in, or carry on any bullfight, but does not prohibit rodeos or bloodless bullfights, contests, or exhibitions held in connection with religious celebrations or religious festivals.

CA - Circus - § 25989.1. Notice to animal control services agency of performances to be conducted West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 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 - Elephant Abuse - § 596.5. Elephants; abusive behavior by owner or manager; misdemeanor West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 596.5

This statute makes it a misdemeanor for an owner or manager of an elephant to engage in abuse and specifies certain behaviors that qualify as abuse.

CA - Elephant Training - § 2128. Elephants; prohibited practices; penalties West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2128

This statute (operative on January 1, 2018) prohibits a person who houses, possesses, manages, or is in direct contact with an elephant from using a billhook, ankus, baseball bat, axe handle, pitchfork, and other devices that inflict pain for the purpose of training or controlling the elephant. Any person caught in violation of this statute will be subject to civil penalty and a suspension or revocation of his or her license to lawfully possess the animal. 

CA - Entertainment - Title 4. Motion Pictures (use of animals) West's Ann. Cal. Civ. Code § 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 - Horse Tripping - Poling or tripping a horse; offenses; exceptions West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597g

This section makes it a misdemeanor to pole or trip a horse for entertainment or sport. Poling is a method of training a horse to jump by forcing, persuading, or enticing a horse to lift its legs higher over a jump by hitting its front legs with a pole, rope, stick, etc. Tripping a horse is using a wire, pole, stick, rope, etc. to cause a horse to fall or lose its balance.

CA - Prize animals - § 599. Selling or giving away poultry or rabbits as inducement to enter contest, place of amusement or busi West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 599

This statute makes it a misdemeanor to sell or give away, any live chicks, rabbits, ducklings, or other fowl as a prize for, or as an inducement to enter, any contest, game or other competition.  It also makes it a crime to dye or artificially color any of these animals, or display them without adequate facilities.

CA - Racing - § 597h. Live animals; attaching to power propelled device to be pursued by dogs West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 597h

This statute makes it unlawful to tie, attach, or fasten any live animal to any machine or device propelled by any power for the purpose of causing such animal to be pursued by a dog or dogs.

CA - Rodeos - § 596.7. Rodeos; veterinarians present at performances; violation of section West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 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 prosec West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 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.

Chile - Animal Welfare- Animal Protection Act (in Spanish) Ley Nº 20.380 - Ley sobre protección de animales. Ley 20.380 is the is the Chilean Animal Protection Statute. It recognizes animals as living beings and establishes the norms for the “recognition, protection and respect of animals” in order to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering. This law punishes animal cruelty with imprisonment of up to 3 years. Labs, zoos, circuses, and other establishments that keep animals for exhibition and entertainment are allowed, so long as they have the adequate facilities according to the species and adequate safety for people. Animal experimentation in schools is allowed under this law. Rodeo, rein-back and equestrian sports are excepted from provisions of this law.
Colombia, Ley 1638, 2013 Ley 1638 de 2013 Ley 1638, prohibits the use of wild animals, native or exotic as part of shows in circuses in the entire country. To accomplish this goal, Ley 1638 gave circuses a two-year deadline to make the transition and re-purpose their shows without the use of wild animals. After the two year-period, national and local authorities would not be able to issue any licenses allowing the use of wild animals for this kind of shows. This law does not include the use of domestic animals.
Colombia, LEY 916, 2004, National bullfighting Statute. LEY 916, 2004 Ley 916, or National Bullfighting Statute, declares bullfighting as “a form of artistic expression”. This statute has national scope, and regulates everything concerning the preparation, organization and development of bullfighting, giving a status of legality in the legal system. The Taurine Statute discusses topics such as the characteristics of the bullring, the name of different areas in the ring, and their purpose. It has an extensive glossary explaining the different methods utilized during the different phases of the bullfight, procedures to weaken and kill the bull, the moves of the animal and the bullfighters. This statute defines the name of the weapons and how and when to use them. It notes requirements such as that every bullring stadium must provide medical assistance for the participants, with all least four specialized doctors in every bullfight. While on-site medical care is outlined for the human participants, no veterinarian is required to be present during the execution of the bullfight.
CT - Racing - Chapter 226. Gaming Policy, Regulation and Revenue C. G. S. A. § 12-557-12-586 A person or business organization must have a license in order to conduct a races. The Commissioner of Consumer Protection is the one who grants the licenses. Each town must hold an election approving racing and pari-mutuel wagering in order for a license to be issued. The Commissioner may order random urine testing of race dogs. The Commissioner is also allowed to conduct investigations and hearings in order to carry out the provisions of this statute and is responsible for adopting regulations.
DC - Horses - Chapter 20. Horse-Drawn Carriages. DC CODE § 8-2001 - 2013

This DC regulation makes it unlawful to operate a horse-drawn carriage trade without a license and an ID card. The regulations forbid certain types of bits and require that each horse wear a diaper. Horses may not be worked or driven for more than 8 hours a day. Horses must be rested, provided with food and water. A violation of the regulations may result in a fine of $300 (1st offense). A serious intentional injury to the horse by neglect or inhumane treatment shall be fined up to $2,500.

England - Circus - The Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012 2012 No. These Regulations set out license conditions for wild animals in travelling circuses, including animal welfare requirements. Licensing conditions include providing lifelong care for the retirement of every licensed animal.
England - Greyhounds - The Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations 2010 2010 No. 543 These Regulations cover license requirements, including renewal, suspension and cancellation; and license conditions for the racing of greyhounds in England. Conditions include the attendance of a veterinary surgeon at every race, kennels at races, microchipping and race injury records.
England/Wales - Wild Animals - Wild Animals in Circuses Act 2019 2019 CHAPTER 24 Comes into force January 2020: An Act banning the use of wild animals in traveling circuses in England and Wales.
Finland - Animal Welfare Act (247/1996, amendments up to 1430/2006 included) The objective of the Finnish Animal Welfare Act is to protect animals from distress, pain and suffering in the best possible way. Another objective is to promote the welfare and good treatment of animals. In meeting these objectives, the Act prohibits inflicting undue pain and distress on animals; what is considered undue pain and distress is discussed by decree. The act also contains special provisions concerning hunting, keeping wild animals in zoos, fishing, veterinary medication, animal breeding, artificial propagation of animals, animal testing on vertebrates, animal transportation, gene technology and nature conservation.
FL - Exhibition - Deformed Animals - Chapter 877. Miscellaneous Crimes. West's F. S. A. § 877.16

This law makes it illegal to exhibit any deformed, mutilated or disfigured animal for compensation.

FL - Initiatives - Amendment 13, Ban on Wagering on Dog Races Amendment 13 A proposed revision relating to ending dog racing; creating new sections in Article X and Article XII of the State Constitution to prohibit the racing of, and wagering on, greyhounds and other dogs after a specified date.
IA - Racing - 99D.1 to 99D.28. Pari-Mutuel Wagering I.C.A. § 99D.1 - 99D.28 This act legalizes and only applies to pari-mutuel wagering on dog and horse races in the state of Iowa. The act creates a state racing and gaming commission which has full jurisdiction to investigate applicants, adopt standards, and regulate all horse and dog races governed by the act. Organizations that wish to conduct horse and dog racing must apply to the commission for a license and meet the requirements. Tracks that are licensed to race dogs are required to maintain a racing dog adoption program.
IL - Elephant - 5/48-11. Unlawful use of an elephant in a traveling animal act 720 I.L.C.S. 5/48-11 This Illinois law states that a person commits unlawful use of an elephant in a traveling animal act when he or she knowingly allows for the participation of an African elephant (Loxodonta Africana) or Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) protected under the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 in a traveling animal act. Violation is a Class A misdemeanor. This Section does not apply to an exhibition of elephants at a non-mobile, permanent institution, or other facility.
KS - Racing - 74-8801 to 74-8842. Parimutuel Wagering K. S. A. §§ 74-8801 to 74-8842. This statute creates the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission. The Commission has the power to observe and inspect all racetracks and is responsible for promulgating regulations including regulations establishing what drugs and at what levels are allowable in the blood or urine of horses and greyhounds. The statute specifies age limits for horses and greyhounds to be able to race. Horses cannot compete until they reach 2 years of age. Greyhounds cannot compete in a race until they reach the age of 15 months. In order to construct or own a racetrack facility a license must be obtained from the Commission.
LA - Exotic animals - § 2796.2. Limitation of liability for loss connected 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.
LEY Nº 4040, 2009 This law eliminates the use of wild and/or domestic animals in circuses in the national territory, as it is considered an act of cruelty against animals. Circuses were given a deadline of one year to surrender their animals and modify their shows.
MA - Initiatives - 2008 Question 3 (dog racing) Question 3 (2008) This proposed law would prohibit any dog racing or racing meeting in Massachusetts where any form of betting or wagering on the speed or ability of dogs occurs. The State Racing Commission would be prohibited from accepting or approving any application or request for racing dates for dog racing. Any person violating the proposed law could be required to pay a civil penalty of not less than $20,000 to the Commission. All existing parts of the chapter of the state's General Laws concerning dog and horse racing meetings would be interpreted as if they did not refer to dogs. These changes would take effect January 1, 2010. The measure was approved by a margin of 65% to 35 %.
MA - Initiatives - Question 3, 2000 (dog racing) Question 3 (2000) This Massachusetts ballot question asked voters in 2000 whether they wanted to prohibit in Massachusetts any dog racing where any form of betting or wagering on the speed or ability of dogs occurs. Any person violating the proposed law could be required to pay a civil penalty of not less than $20,000 to the State Racing Commission. The question failed with 49% voting "yes" and 51% voting "no" on the question.
MD - Dangerous Animals - Part IV. Animal Control MD Code, Health-General, § 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.
MD - Exotic pets - Subtitle 6. Crimes Relating to Animals. MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-621 Under this Maryland law, a person may not import into the State, offer for sale, trade, barter, possess, breed, or exchange the following species of animals: foxes, skunks, raccoons, bears, caimans, alligators, crocodiles, wild cats, wolves, nonhuman primates, and venomous snakes. Animal sanctuaries, AWA licensed facilities, those holding valid permits from the Department of Natural Resources, and veterinarians are exempted. This section does not prohibit a person who had lawful possession of an animal listed above on or before May 31, 2006, from continuing to possess that animal if the person provided written notification to the local animal control authority on or before August 1, 2006. Violation results in a fine and seizure of the animal(s).
MI - Cruelty - Chapter 750. Michigan Penal Code. M. C. L. A. 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. M. C. L. A. 764.16 This law authorizes private citizens to make arrests.
MN - Exhibition - Chapter 97A. Game and Fish. General Provisions. M. S. A. § 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.
MO - Exotic pet - 578.023. Keeping a dangerous wild animal, penalty V. A. M. S. 578.023 This Missouri law states that no person may keep any lion, tiger, leopard, ocelot, jaguar, cheetah, margay, mountain lion, Canada lynx, bobcat, jaguarundi, hyena, wolf, bear, nonhuman primate, coyote, any deadly, dangerous, or poisonous reptile, or any deadly or dangerous reptile over eight feet long, in any place other than a properly maintained zoological park, circus, scientific, or educational institution, research laboratory, veterinary hospital, or animal refuge, unless such person has registered such animals with the local law enforcement agency in the county in which the animal is kept. Violation is a class C misdemeanor.
NJ - Endangered - Chapter 2A. Wildlife Generally NJSA 23:2A-1 to 23:2A-1:16 These statutes comprise the New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act. The definitions used in the Act are described as well as the rules for listing species, the powers and duties of the supervising department, and the designation of funding.  Under the statute, violation of the Act incurs a civil penalty of $250-5,000. In 2014, provisions were added for the prohibition on import, sale, or purchase of ivory products. In 2018, a law was added that prohibits a person from using a wild or exotic animal in a traveling animal act.
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.
OR - Animal Racing - Chapter 462. Racing. O.R.S. § 462.010 - 990 Oregon created a Racing Commission that has the authority license, regulate, and supervise all race meets within the state and shall cause the race tracks that hold races to be inspected at least once each fiscal year. A race meet is not to be held unless a license is obtained from the Oregon Racing Commission. All employees of the race track as well as any public training facility or kennel for greyhounds involved in racing are also required to obtain a license from the Commission prior to engaging in their duties. The Commission may require each applicant to obtain a recommendation in writing of the board of county commissioners of the county in the event a race meet is to be held outside of a city and of the governing body of such city if the race meet is to be held within a city. The Commission is tasked with determining the number and classes of race meets to be held in any fiscal year and the total number of racing dates to be granted to a licensee, not to exceed 350 days in any metropolitan area in any fiscal year. The Commission is entitled to require chemical testing of the urine, blood, saliva, or other bodily substances of animals participating in races. Animals are prohibited from participating in races if they have been administered a drug that is prohibited by the Commission, prohibited drugs have been detected in the animal's system, and the animal has been stimulated or depressed in any way by a mechanical device not sanctioned by the Commission.
RI - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Laws (Chapter 1. Cruelty to Animals) Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-1-1 - 43; Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-1.2-1 - 5; Gen.Laws 1956, § 11-10-1 These Rhode Island statutes comprise the state's anti-cruelty and animal fighting provisions. The cruelty law provides that whoever overdrives, overloads, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, or cruelly beats, mutilates or kills any animal is subject to imprisonment up to 11 months, or a fine of $50.00 - $500, or both. The intentional cruelty provision expands the penalty to 2 years possible imprisonment or a fine of $1,000, or both.
RI - Rodeo - Chapter 20. Rodeo Animals and Livestock Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-20-1 to 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 to 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.
TN - Bovine - Chapter 21. Liability of Bovine Owners T. C. A. § 44-21-101 - 104 This chapter operates similarly to equine activity liability laws and provides that a bovine owner shall not be liable for any injury, loss, damage, or death of a person resulting from the inherent risks of bovine activities. The section also requires the posting of warning signs alerting visitors to bovine activities that the owner or operator is not liable.
TN - Dangerous Animals - § 39-17-101. Dangerous snakes or reptiles; handling T. C. A. § 39-17-101 This Tennessee law makes it an offense for a person to display, exhibit, handle, or use a poisonous or dangerous snake or reptile in a manner that endangers the life or health of any person. Violation is a Class C misdemeanor.

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