- Sections :
- Crime & Public Safety
- Local Area
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, TX -- Senate Bill 1210- The Big Cat Public Safety Act and HR 263, has amended the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 enacted by the Captive Wildlife Safety Act to further conservation of certain wildlife species, known as the Big Cat Public Safety Act. This bill revises requirements governing the trade of big cats (lions, tigers, leopards, cheetah, jaguar, or cougars or any hybrid of such species) and revises restrictions on the possession and exhibition of big cats, including to restrict direct contact between the public and big cats.
“As experts in Southeast Texas for Exotic Animal Rescue we are ecstatic to say that the Big Cat Public Safety Act has passed in the Senate”, said Kati Krouse, Founder and Executive Director of BEARS Etc. BEARS Etc. is the expert in Southeast Texas for Exotic Animal Rescue. Krouse has over 25 years of experience in animal rescue and founded BEARS Etc. 2017 after recognizing that Bears are the least served in the Exotic Pet Trade. She has sat with many of our elected officials, including Congressman Brady, encouraging them to pass the bill.
“It passed in the House In July with a nod to our Congressman Brady for voting affirmatively. President Biden promised, earlier this year that he would sign it once it made it to his desk.”
What does this mean to us?
Anyone privately owning Big Cats will be grandfathered in but, will not be able to have additional Big Cats. Big Cats outside of the Species Survival Program (SSP) can no longer be bred and cubs can no longer be used for petting/human interactions. They must register their cats with the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
“I have been advocating for this bill to pass for over 10 years”, said Krouse.We’ve seen it here in the Houston area year after year. A Big Cat loose on the streets or found in a house. This is a huge public safety issue and our first responders, (both police and animal control) are not trained how to handle the situation. Big Cats and Bears should not be kept as pets. They can be very dangerous for everyone involved.”
Kati has been traveling around the state this year speaking to Animal Control Officers and Sherriff's Departments training them how to react to these calls. They are asking for help. The National Sheriffs Association even supported the bill.
Krouse went on to say, “We’re now in need of the public’s help more than ever to get the 20 acres needed for us to house Bears, and other large carnivores like tigers. There will be a lot of Big Cats in need of placement with this bill passing. Also, we will see an influx of Bear cubs being used for cub petting now that they can no longer use big cat cubs.”
BEARS Etc. is fundraising to open a sanctuary for these animals. It will be open to the public for them to come see the animals and hear their stories.
“We want to give them their own PEACE of the Wild in large natural habitats and for people to experience that too!” Krouse said.
Donations can be made through the BEARS Etc. website: www.bearsetc.org. BEARS Etc is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization.