2014: Maryland Senate Bill 827

Where: Maryland State

What: Maryland SB 827 amends the current "Criminal Law – Possession of Dangerous or Wild Animals." The first hearing is assigned for 3/4/14 at 1:00PM. A very similar bill was filed in the House (HB 1124 viewable at www.usark.org/2014-blog/2014-house-bill-1124/).

Action Alert: www.usark.org/campaign/maryland-senate-bill-827-action-alert


Both bills provide that unless you qualify for another exemption, holders of a Class C Exhibitors License (Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S. C. Sec. 2131, et. seq.) would no longer be allowed to possess a nonhuman primate, bear, lion, tiger, leopard, clouded leopard, snow leopard, jaguar, cheetah, cougar, or a hybrid of one of these animals. AZA certified facilities would still be allowed to possess these animals, along with the remaining previously exempted owners, such as certain federally licensed research facilities, animal sanctuaries, animal control officers, veterinarians, nonresidents in Maryland for less than 11 days and circuses. Thus, Class C Exhibitors would still be allowed to possess crocodilians and venomous snakes. In other words, both bills would provide no change in the law regarding possession of reptiles.

Both of the bills provide that none of the exempted persons or entities listed above (nor anybody else) may allow a person to come in direct contact with any of the dangerous or wild animals below. And if a listed dangerous or wild animal potentially exposes anyone to rabies or other zoonotic disease by penetration or abrasion of the skin, the owner must report the potential exposure to the local animal control authority within 24 hours after the exposure. Animal sanctuaries and traveling circuses would be prohibited from allowing members of the public to be in proximity of the dangerous or wild animals listed below without protective barriers. The bills would prohibit an exempted person from allowing the public to have direct contact with crocodilians and poisonous [venomous] snakes (or any of the other listed animals below).

The House Bill provides a grandfather provision allowing a holder of a Class C Exhibitor’s license to continue to own a nonhuman primate, bear, lion, tiger, leopard, clouded leopard, snow leopard, jaguar, cheetah, or cougar owned on September 30, 2014.

The House Bill allows a Class C Exhibitor to replace a grandfathered animal as long as the Class C Exhibitor meets 5 listed criteria for the previous 3 years. allows for certain exemptions for AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accredited institutions.

  • allows for certain exemptions for a circus holding a Class C exhibitor’s license
  • removes exemptions for an exhibitor licensed under the federal Animal Welfare Act
  • does not allow members of the general public to be in proximity of certain animals
  • no person may allow a member of the public to come into direct contact with any animal listed below
  • increases restrictions on importation, sale and breeding of certain large mammals

Animals included under this law since 2006 are:

  • fox, skunk, raccoon, or bear
  • caiman, alligator, or crocodile
  • member of the cat family other than the domestic cat
  • hybrid of a member of the cat family and a domestic cat if the hybrid weighs over 30 pounds
  • member of the dog family other than the domestic dog
  • hybrid of a member of the dog family and a domestic dog
  • nonhuman primate, including lemur, monkey, chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, marmoset, loris, tamarin
  • poisonous snake in the family groups of Hydrophidae, Elapidae, Viperidae, or Crotolidae
  • requires the owner of an animal to report potential exposure to zoonotic disease

View the current law (non-bold text), proposed amendments (bold text), and partial repeals (words in bold brackets "[ ]") at http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2014RS/bills/sb/sb0827t.pdf.


Sponsor  and Judicial Proceedings Committee contact information

Senator Catherine E. Pugh
Email: catherine.pugh@senate.state.md.us
Capitol Office: 3 East Miller, Senate Office, 11 Bladen StreetAnnapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410-841-3656

Committe member emails are below and additional contact information at www.mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=cmtepage&stab=04&id=jpr&tab=subject7&ys=2014RS

Senator Frosh: brian.frosh@senate.state.md.us
Senator Gladden: lisa.gladden@senate.state.md.us
Senator Brochin: jim.brochin@senate.state.md.us
Senator: Forehand: jennie.forehand@senate.state.md.us
Senator Hershey: steve.hershey@senate.state.md.us
Senator Jacobs: nancy.jacobs@senate.state.md.us
Senator Muse: anthony.muse@senate.state.md.us
Senator Raskin: jamie.raskin@senate.state.md.us
Senator Shank: christopher.shank@senate.state.md.us
Senator Stone: norman.stone@senate.state.md.us
Senator Zirkin: bobby.zirkin@senate.state.md.us

Article written by USARK