New law will make private ownership of wild animals illegal - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

New law will make private ownership of wild animals illegal

South Carolina State House (Source: WIS) South Carolina State House (Source: WIS)

By SEANNA ADCOX
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina will no longer allow lions, tigers and bears to be pets.

A new law that takes effect Jan. 1 makes it illegal to own a "large wild cat, non-native bear or great ape." That leaves just four states without rules against keeping wild animals as pets.

House Natural Resources Chairman David Hiott says officials guess there are fewer than a hundred statewide. But the numbers are unclear because the state doesn't track it.

No humans have been killed by wild pets, but Hiott says the law is about preventing potential tragedies.

The Humane Society has documented at least 10 cases since 1991 of bears, big cats or primates getting loose and/or injuring someone in the state.

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