House passes Carole Baskin’s bill to ban ‘cub petting’ and personal ownership of huge cats

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‘Big Cat Public Safety Act’ passes House

Jordan Bowen reports

After years of pressuring lawmakers, Carole Baskin’s “Big Cat Public Safety Act” is making major headway in Washington. If passed, HB-263 would outlaw “cub petting” and ban the private ownership of huge cats as pets.

As Baskin puts it, it’s her “silver lining” to the craze that exploded from Netflix’s “Tiger King.” Before she was a household name, banning “cub petting” and the private ownership of huge cats was and all the time has been one among her biggest priorities. Soon, Washington could make it federal law.

Because it stands right away, there isn’t any federal law banning private residents from owning big cats, like lions and tigers as pets. Baskin says it’s long overdue.

“I’m feeling like I can see the sunshine at the tip of the tunnel,” Baskin said.

For many years, she’s been rescuing exotic big cats and offering them a latest life living at her 67-acre sanctuary Big Cat Rescue in Tampa. Many are born into captivity and compelled into circuses and roadside zoos, where, Baskin says, poor living conditions result in life-long health implications – meaning they would not survive if released back into the wild. 

“What I’d say to anybody who thinks that they need to own a lion or a tiger or any sort of exotic cat as a pet, it isn’t the glamorous thing that you simply see on social media,” she explained. “They grow up like that, they usually turn out to be apex predators who need to kill you in only a matter of a few years.”

READ: ‘Tiger King’ Joe Exotic resentenced to 21 years for murder-for-hire plot

Based on the Animal Welfare Institute, since 1990, nationwide there have been no less than 400 dangerous incidents involving captive big cats. 

Since 1998, Baskin has been pushing for laws to crack down on private ownership. Steadily through the years, it’s gained support, however it was the discharge of “Tiger King” that gave Baskin a national platform to push even harder.

“That might be the one silver lining to Tiger King,” Baskin offered, “what it did was it made people aware of this problem.”

If the act passes, it should grandfather in current owners and require them to register their pets, so first responders and animal control officers are aware of them.

“When first responders go into a hearth or right into a domestic abuse situation, they should know that these cats are even there, they usually do not know that now,” Baskin said.

READ: Detective ‘frustrated’ by Carole Baskin’s refusal to debate missing husband with investigators

Thus far, the laws has passed within the U.S. House of Representatives and received formal support from President Biden. Its fate now stays within the U.S. Senate.

Without delay, the U.S. Senate is on recess. After they return in September, the country could know more in regards to the likelihood of it passing. The bill has bipartisan support and no known organized opposition. 

Baskin said she expects it’ll pass before the tip of the yr.