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Missouri

Vernon's Annotated Missouri Statutes Title XXXVIII. Crimes and Punishment; Peace Officers and Public Defenders Chapter 578. Miscellaneous Offenses. Large Carnivores

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: V.A.M.S. 578.600 - 578.625

Citation: MO ST 578.600 - 578.625


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 01/2013

Summary:   The “Large Carnivore Act” pertains to large cats (tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, and cheetahs) and bears that are nonnative to Missouri and held in captivity. The Act prohibits ownership, possession, breeding, and transportation of large carnivores (with some exceptions). Any person who owns or possesses a large carnivore is civilly liable for the death or injury of a human and for property damage, including the death or injury of another animal. Violations may result in a class A misdemeanor or a class D felony conviction, as well as community service work, the loss of privileges to own or possess any animal, and forfeiture of a large carnivore.


Statute in Full:

578.600. Citation of law--definitions

578.602. Possession, breeding and transportation prohibited--purpose--permit, application

578.604. Identification microchips

578.606. Adhering to department regulations--notification of death

578.608. Killing of a large carnivore, when, liability

578.610. Liability of owner--insurance--reporting of escape

578.612. Permit to transport

578.614. Violations--misdemeanors--penalties--application

578.616. Violation--civil forfeiture of animal

578.618. Adoption of more restrictive ordinance

578.620. Application, exceptions

578.622. Application

578.624. Large carnivore fund, creation of

578.625. Moneys collected, use

 

 

578.600. Citation of law--definitions

1. Sections 578.600 to 578.624 shall be known and may be cited as the “Large Carnivore Act”.

2. As used in sections 578.600 to 578.624, the following terms mean:

(1) “Circus”, an incorporated, class C licensee that is licensed under Chapter I of Title 9 of the Code of Federal Regulations, that is temporarily in this state, and that offers skilled performances by live animals, clowns, and acrobats for public entertainment;

(2) “Department”, the Missouri department of agriculture;

(3) “Division”, the division of animal health of the Missouri department of agriculture;

(4) “Facility”, an indoor or outdoor cage, pen, or similar enclosure where a large carnivore is kept;

(5) “Humane killing”, the same meaning as such term is defined in section 578.005;

(6) “Large carnivore”, either of the following:

(a) Any of the following large cats of the Felidae family that are nonnative to this state held in captivity: tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard, snow leopard, clouded leopard, and cheetah, including a hybrid cross with such cat, but excluding any unlisted nonnative cat, or any common domestic or house cat; or

(b) A bear of a species that is nonnative to this state and held in captivity;

(7) “Livestock”, the same meaning as such term is defined in section 267.565;

(8) “Permit”, a permit issued under section 578.602;

(9) “Qualified veterinarian”, a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine under chapter 340.

Credits
(L.2010, S.B. No. 795, § A.)

 

578.602. Possession, breeding and transportation prohibited--purpose--permit, application

1. Except as permitted under sections 578.600 to 578.624, no person shall:

(1) Own or possess a large carnivore;

(2) Breed a large carnivore;

(3) Transfer ownership or possession of or receive a transfer of ownership or possession of a large carnivore, with or without remuneration; or

(4) Transport a large carnivore.

2. The division shall implement and enforce the provisions of sections 578.600 to 578.624 for the following purposes:

(1) The standardization of ownership, transport, and breeding of large carnivores;

(2) Identification and location of large carnivores;

(3) Protection of members of the public from large carnivores; and

(4) Practice best husbandry and health care protocols to ensure the humane and safe treatment of large carnivores on behalf of their physical well-being.

3. Any person possessing, breeding, or transporting a large carnivore on or after January 1, 2012, shall apply for and obtain a permit from the division. Any person possessing, breeding, or transporting a large carnivore as of January 1, 2012, shall apply for a permit from the division within sixty days of such date. One permit shall be required for each large carnivore. Any permit so issued by the division shall set forth all of the following:

(1) The name and address of the permit holder and the address where each large carnivore will be kept, if different from that of the permit holder;

(2) The identification number of each large carnivore required under section 578.604 for which a permit is sought;

(3) The name and address of the veterinarian who is expected to provide veterinary care to the large carnivore and, if different, the name and address of the veterinarian who has inserted the subcutaneous microchip required under section 578.604. The selected veterinarian shall install the microchip, collect an appropriate sample for DNA registration, provide a written summary of the physical examination, and provide a signed health certificate as needed for transport; and

(4) Any other reasonable information as determined by the department, including the amount of the permit fee, not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars, as set by the division to offset the actual and necessary costs incurred to enforce the provisions of sections 578.600 to 578.624 and the amount of the annual renewal fee, not to exceed five hundred dollars, for such permits.

4. No permit shall be issued to any person under the age of twenty-one years of age or who has been found guilty of, or pled guilty to, a violation of any state or local law prohibiting neglect or mistreatment of any animal or, within the previous ten years, any felony.

Credits
(L.2010, S.B. No. 795, § A.)

 

578.604. Identification microchips

The owner of a large carnivore shall have an identification number placed in the large carnivore via subcutaneous microchip, at the expense of the owner, by or under the supervision of a veterinarian.

Credits
(L.2010, S.B. No. 795, § A.)

 

578.606. Adhering to department regulations--notification of death

1. Any person who owns, possesses, breeds, or sells a large carnivore shall adhere to all United States Department of Agriculture regulations and standards.

2. Upon the death of a large carnivore, the owner shall notify the state department of agriculture of such death within ten business days. Such notification shall include the identification number from the animal's subcutaneous microchip.

Credits
(L.2010, S.B. No. 795, § A.)

 

578.608. Killing of a large carnivore, when, liability

1. A law enforcement officer or other person may kill a large carnivore if such officer or person observes or has reason to believe that the large carnivore is chasing, attacking, injuring, or killing:

(1) A human being, whether the large carnivore is contained in or is outside of its enclosure;

(2) Livestock;

(3) Poultry; or

(4) A mammalian pet, only if the large carnivore is outside of its enclosure.

2. No law enforcement officer, animal control officer, or person shall be held civilly liable for damages or otherwise for killing or attempting to kill a large carnivore under subsection 1 of this section.

3. A large carnivore's entry onto a field or enclosure that is owned by or leased by a person producing livestock or poultry constitutes a trespass, and the person who owns or possesses the large carnivore is liable in damages.

Credits
(L.2010, S.B. No. 795, § A.)

 

578.610. Liability of owner--insurance--reporting of escape

1. Any person who owns or possesses a large carnivore is liable in a civil action for the death or injury of a human and for property damage, including but not limited to the death or injury of another animal, caused by the large carnivore. Sections 578.600 to 578.624 do not limit the common law liability of the owner of a large carnivore for the death or injury of a human or for property damage caused by the large carnivore.

2. Any person who owns or possesses a large carnivore shall maintain liability insurance in an amount of not less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars. Each person subject to the provisions of this subsection shall provide verification to the department on an annual basis that such liability insurance is being maintained.

3. If a large carnivore escapes or is released, intentionally or unintentionally, the person who owns or possesses the large carnivore shall immediately contact law enforcement to report the loss, escape, or release. The person who owns or possesses the large carnivore is liable for all expenses associated with efforts to recapture the large carnivore that is released or escapes.

Credits
(L.2010, S.B. No. 795, § A.)

 

578.612. Permit to transport

A person lawfully in possession of a large carnivore under sections 578.600 to 578.624 shall be required to obtain a permit to transport the large carnivore in a vehicle in compliance with all federal and division requirements applicable to such large carnivores.

Credits
(L.2010, S.B. No. 795, § A.)

 

578.614. Violations--misdemeanors--penalties--application

1. Subject to subsection 2 of this section, any person who violates sections 578.600 to 578.624 is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Any person who fails to obtain a permit as required by sections 578.600 to 578.624 is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Any person who intentionally releases a large carnivore except to the care, custody, and control of another person is guilty of a class D felony. In addition, a person who violates sections 578.600 to 578.624 may be punished by one or more of the following:

(1) Community service work for not more than five hundred hours;

(2) The loss of privileges to own or possess any animal.

2. Subsection 1 of this section does not apply to a law enforcement officer, animal control officer, qualified veterinarian, or department of agriculture employee with respect to the performance of the duties of a law enforcement officer, animal control officer, qualified veterinarian, or department of agriculture employee under sections 578.600 to 578.624.

Credits
(L.2010, S.B. No. 795, § A.)

 

578.616. Violation--civil forfeiture of animal

1. If a person who owns, possesses, breeds, or sells a large carnivore violates sections 578.600 to 578.624, such large carnivore and any other large carnivore owned or possessed by such person are subject to civil forfeiture.

2. The prosecuting attorney in an action under section 578.614 may file a petition requesting that the court issue an order for civil forfeiture of all of the large carnivores owned or possessed by the person violating sections 578.600 to 578.624.

Credits
(L.2010, S.B. No. 795, § A.)

 

578.618. Adoption of more restrictive ordinance

A political subdivision may adopt an ordinance governing large carnivores that is more restrictive than sections 578.600 to 578.624. The requirements of sections 578.600 to 578.624 are in addition to any other requirements governing a large carnivore under state and federal law.

Credits
(L.2010, S.B. No. 795, § A.)

 

578.620. Application, exceptions

1. Sections 578.602 and 578.604 shall not apply to any of the following:

(1) An animal control shelter or animal protection shelter that is providing temporary care to a large carnivore for ninety days or less and has proper facilities to handle the large carnivore;

(2) A law enforcement officer or department of agriculture employee acting under the authority of sections 578.600 to 578.624;

(3) A veterinarian temporarily in possession of a large carnivore to provide veterinary care for or humanely euthanize the large carnivore;

(4) A class C licensee that possesses and maintains a class C license under 9 C.F.R. 1.1 that meets the following conditions:

(a) The business is not conducted in connection with another business as a means of attracting customers to such other business;

(b) The class C licensee currently owns or possesses a large carnivore on August 28, 2010; except that, any class C licensee whose license is revoked after August 28, 2010, shall be required to obtain a state permit. For any large carnivore acquired after August 28, 2010, the class C licensee shall obtain a state permit.

2. Sections 578.602 and 578.604 shall not apply to a person who is not a resident of this state and who is in this state only for the purpose of travel between locations outside of this state and is not exhibiting in this state.

Credits
(L.2010, S.B. No. 795, § A.)

 

578.622. Application

Sections 578.600 to 578.624 shall not apply to a circus, the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine, or a zoological park that is a part of a district created under chapter 184.

Credits
(L.2010, S.B. No. 795, § A.)

 

578.624. Large carnivore fund, creation of

1. (1) There is hereby created in the state treasury the “Large Carnivore Fund”, which shall consist of moneys collected under sections 578.600 to 578.624, and any gifts, donations, bequests, or appropriations. The state treasurer shall be custodian of the fund. In accordance with sections 30.170 and 30.180, the state treasurer may approve disbursements. Upon appropriation, money in the fund shall be used solely for the administration of sections 578.600 to 578.624.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 33.080 to the contrary, any moneys remaining in the fund at the end of the biennium shall not revert to the credit of the general revenue fund.

(3) The state treasurer shall invest moneys in the fund in the same manner as other funds are invested. Any interest and moneys earned on such investments shall be credited to the fund.

2. Any rule or portion of a rule, as that term is defined in section 536.010, that is created under the authority delegated in sections 578.600 to 578.624 shall become effective only if it complies with and is subject to all of the provisions of chapter 536 and, if applicable, section 536.028. Sections 578.600 to 578.624 and chapter 536 are nonseverable and if any of the powers vested with the general assembly pursuant to chapter 536 to review, to delay the effective date, or to disapprove and annul a rule are subsequently held unconstitutional, then the grant of rulemaking authority and any rule proposed or adopted after August 28, 2010, shall be invalid and void.

Credits
(L.2010, S.B. No. 795, § A.)

 

578.625. Moneys collected, use

Section 1. No moneys collected under section 273.327 shall be used to operate or administer sections 578.600 to 578.624.

Credits
(L.2010, S.B. No. 795, § 1.)

 



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