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 - 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.

CA - Bullfights - § 597m. Bullfights prohibited; exceptions; penalty CA PENAL § 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 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 - Elephant Abuse - § 596.5. Elephants; abusive behavior by owner or manager; misdemeanor CA PENAL § 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 - 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 - Prize animals - § 599. Selling or giving away poultry or rabbits as inducement to enter contest, place of amusement or busi CA PENAL § 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 CA PENAL § 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 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 prosec 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.

Chile - Animal Welfare- Animal Protection Act (in Spanish) Ley Nº 20.380 - Ley sobre protección de animales. This Chilean Act, in Spanish, details the legal framework on the protection of animals, both domestic and wild, in order to give adequate care and causing unnecessary distress.
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.

LA - Exotic animals - § 2796.2. Limitation of liability for loss connected with festivals, programs, or activities sponsored by 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.

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. 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 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.

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.