The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to enact Bill 23-17, Animal Control - Performance Animal – Violations, which prohibits a person or business from charging guests or visitors a fee to attend an exhibition of a wild animal in a traveling animal act.
The new law will be enforced by the County Police Department’s Animal Control Division. Councilmembers Craig Rice and George Leventhal are the lead sponsors. Council President Hans Riemer, Council Vice President Nancy Navarro, and Councilmembers Sidney Katz, Marc Elrich, Tom Hucker, and Roger Berliner are co-sponsors.
“It is not just, or necessary, to mistreat animals for the entertainment of humans,” said Councilmember Leventhal, who serves as chair of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee. “There is simply no way, when the animal is traveling long distances, when the animal is on public display, when out of necessity, the animal is caged, that adequate treatment can be provided in a way that is good for the animal.”
Bill 23-17 applies to animal acts, circuses, rides or other similar events where a wild animal is required to perform tricks, give rides, or participate as part of an entertainment event or amusement or in front of any live audience.
A violation of this law is punishable by a civil citation carrying fines of $100 per day up to a $500 maximum. The County Executive may issue regulations to enforce this new law.
“I’m pleased with the passage of this bill because it’s an important one that protects animals from abuse and inhumane conditions in our County while also ensuring our farming communities can continue unaffected,” said Councilmember Rice, who serves as chair of the Council’s Education Committee. “We need to send a strong message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated here in Montgomery County.”