SB 149 - This act modifies the Large Carnivore Act and creates the Nonhuman Primate Act.
LARGE CARNIVORE ACT (Sections 578.600-578.622) - The act removes the clouded leopard from the Act's requirements and removes the requirement to have a permit to transport a large carnivore.
Current law requires a permit for each large carnivore. The act modifies the permit requirement so that only one permit is required per owner per location where a large carnivore is kept, regardless of the number of large carnivores kept at that location.
Current law sets a maximum fee of $2500 and $500 that may be charged by the Department of Agriculture for a large carnivore permit and renewal permit, respectively. The act removes these maximums and allows the Department to set the fees in amounts that allow the Department to cover only up to its actual costs to administer the Act.
The act makes a person ineligible for a large carnivore permit if he or she does not possess a valid license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the animal if the person is required under federal law to have a license.
The act makes any information submitted to the Department of Agriculture in relation to a large carnivore permit a closed record, subject only to disclosure by court order or when requested by law enforcement.
Currently, large carnivores must be microchipped. The act instead requires a large carnivore to have some sort of permanent identification, which shall be prescribed by rule by the Department of Agriculture.
The act removes the requirement that a large carnivore owner must notify the Missouri Department of Agriculture within 10 business days of the death of a large carnivore and instead gives 30 days in which to notify the Department of any change to the information on the permit.
Large carnivores may not come into physical contact with the public except as allowable by the Department of Agriculture. Owners of large carnivores must have recapture plans in the event of escape or release. Intentionally releasing a large carnivore is prohibited.
Current law requires owners or possessors of large carnivores to carry insurance policies of at least $250,000. The act modifies this amount to either $50,000 or an amount set by the Department of Agriculture. The act also modifies this requirement to allow the acquisition of a surety bond or the making of certain cash deposits with the State Treasurer to suffice instead of liability insurance as evidence of financial responsibility in the event of damages caused by the large carnivore.
The Department of Agriculture may deny an application for a large carnivore permit or may suspend or revoke a permit for cause. Appeal procedures are provided in the act. The Department and law enforcement agencies may enforce any provision of the Large Carnivore Act.
The act modifies the exemptions to the Large Carnivore Act. Current law exempts five entities from only the permit and microchip requirements of the Act and exempts three entities from the Act in its entirety. This act expands the exemption for the first five entities so that they are exempt from the Act in its entirety, except it removes the grandfather exemption for certain owners of large carnivores who held Class C licenses from the USDA as of August 28, 2010. The act also removes zoos as one of the entities exempted under current law from the entire Act.
NONHUMAN PRIMATE ACT (Sections 578.700-578.745) - Beginning September 1, 2014, no person in the state may own, keep, or otherwise possess a baboon or Great Ape without a permit issued by the Department of Agriculture. Permits must be sought within 30 days of the acquisition of such an animal. One permit is required per owner per location where a nonhuman primate is kept, regardless of the number of nonhuman primates kept at that location. Certain organizations are exempt from the act's provisions as listed, except wildlife sanctuaries are not exempt from the act's animal identification requirement. Owners of nonhuman primates must comply with any United States Department of Agriculture regulation.
Owners of nonhuman primates must have permanent identification on their animals, the allowable forms of which shall be determined by the Department of Agriculture. Individuals who possess a nonhuman primate as of August 28, 2013, have a one-year grace period after the Department issues its rules in which to comply.
Permit applicants must be at least 21 years of age and must not have in the past violated a state or local animal welfare law nor pled guilty to or been found guilty of a felony within the last 10 years. All information submitted to the Department of Agriculture in relation to a nonhuman primate permit is a closed record except the Department of Agriculture must cooperate with law enforcement upon request. The act requires certain information on the permit application to help locate and identify a nonhuman primate. The Department may only issue a permit to a person who meets all of the requirements of the act. Permits are valid for one year and are renewable. The Department may charge a fee for an original permit and a renewal permit. The Department may deny anyone a permit, or revoke a permit, if a person fails at any time to meet or comply with the act's requirements. The Department may revoke a permit for a nonhuman primate if a permit holder pleads guilty to or is found guilty of the crime of animal abuse, abandonment, or animal neglect. Denied or revoked permits may be appealed.
Under the act, if a person can no longer care for a nonhuman primate in his or her possession, the person can transfer the primate to another person who has a valid permit or the person can contact the department or a wildlife sanctuary.
Nonhuman primates shall not be allowed to come into physical contact with a member of the public except in accordance with rules prescribed by the Department of Agriculture. Owners of nonhuman primates must have a plan for recapture in the event of escape and must maintain certain proof of financial responsibility for liability. Owners of nonhuman primates must notify law enforcement immediately if the primate escapes and will be responsible for the costs involved in capture. Owners of nonhuman primates must allow enforcement agents reasonable access to the animal's premises to ensure the animal is being kept in compliance with the act.
The act provides immunity from civil liability for a person who kills a nonhuman primate if the primate is chasing, attacking, hurting or killing a person, livestock, or a mammalian pet.
A violation of the act is a class A misdemeanor, except if a person intentionally releases a nonhuman primate, which is a class D felony. Violators of the act may also be subject to an additional penalty of up to 500 hours of community service, the loss of privilege to own an animal, or civil forfeiture of nonhuman primates.
The act directs the Department of Agriculture to promulgate rules for the Nonhuman Primate Act.
Local governments may enact laws that are more restrictive than the act.
The act is similar to HCS/HB 284 (2013), SS/SCS/SB 666 (2012), and SCS/SB 138 (2011).