Illinois House Bill 5940

Status: Passed House and assigned to Senate Agriculture and Conservation Committee. Hearing scheduled for 5/13/14.

Illinois HB 5940 amends the Criminal Code concerning "dangerous animals" which include: lion, tiger, leopard, ocelot, jaguar, cheetah, margay, mountain lion, lynx, bobcat, jaguarundi, bear, wolf, coyote, hyena, bear, any poisonous or life-threatening reptile.

The bill adds and defines the term "animal refuge" and makes it illegal to allow the public to come into direct contact with a "dangerous animal." It also provides exclusions for accredited associations and Class C exhibitor license holders.

View the bill with amendments (underlined words) and repeals (strikethrough words) to the current law at

This is not a new law. This bill amends the current law regarding "dangerous animals." These amendments would allow Class C licensed keepers of a lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar, cheetah, mountain lion, bear, or bear to keep their current animals but not breed or acquire another.  Class C permit holders may still breed or acquire additional ocelot, margay, lynx, bobcat, jaguarundi, wolf, coyote, hyena, and any poisonous [venomous] or life-threatening reptile.


Contact Information

Sponsor: Representative Michael J. Zalewski

Springfield Office: 217-782-5280
District Office: 708-442-6500

Agriculture and Conservation Members at

Sample Letter

As a responsible exotic animal enthusiast and educator, I oppose HB5940. The Criminal Code of 2012 already sufficiently regulates potentially dangerous animals used for educational purposes and additional restriction is not needed.

Personal interactions with these animals cannot be replicated and as the urbanization of America continues, these interactions are crucial for children and adults to appreciate nature and animals. While I understand your concerns over public safety, there are no recorded incidents of serious injury during these presentations.

This bill also affects businesses that earn revenue by giving these educational presentations. These businesses are licensed, insured and professional. They assure that no harm will come to the public during events.

I ask you to oppose HB5940 as the current regulations do not need to be amended.

Article written by USARK