Tennessee lawmakers pitch new exotic ownership rules
NASHVILLE — New legislation proposed in Tennessee would crack down on dangerous exotic animal ownership. In fact, state legislators introduced a bill on Jan. 25 to create an exotic wildlife board within the state's Department of Agriculture as well as a new classification structure.
House Bill 3165 would ban the private ownership, import, sale and transfer of most wildlife—regardless of whether or not they are indigenous to the state. The legislation seeks to separate wildlife into five classes, including exotics considered inherently dangerous and others that may only be kept in zoos under conditions that prevent their release or escape into the environment.
The proposed law outlines a number of penalties for violators, and it would mandate that any escape or injury caused by wildlife ownership will be mitigated at the expense of the owner.