Missouri bill would limit exotics interaction


Missouri bill would limit exotics interaction

Feb 26, 2009
By dvm360.com staff
St. Louis -- Veterinarians and owners soon may be the only ones allowed to handle exotic animals in Missouri.

A new law proposed by the Missouri Senate would change the current exotics law, moving refuges as permitted homes for the animals. Exotics still could be kept in zoos, circuses, scientific or educational institutions, research laboratories and veterinary hospitals. The types of animals governed by this law would be narrowed, too, with margays, jaguarondis, coyotes and certain reptiles being removed from the list.

Exotic-animal owners, who would be forced to register and microchip their animals, also would not be allowed to bring them to any public, commercial or retail establishment unless it is a veterinarian or veterinary clinic, according to the proposed law.

The animals could not come into contact with anyone other than the owner, possessor, handler or veterinarian.

Violations of the law, if passed, would be considered a Class A misdemeanor.

Some groups claim the measure would create a monopoly, in that it would require any zoo that houses the animals to have been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a private nonprofit organization. Similar organizations include the Uniting a Proactive Primate and Exotic Animal League (UAPPEAL), the United States Zoological Association and the Zoological Association of America, but none was included as options for zoo accreditation in the bill. Educational institutions and research laboratories that house the animals also would have to be accredited, but no specifications for accrediting institutions were listed in the bill, and veterinary hospitals that house exotics would need to be permitted by the Missouri Veterinary Medical Board.