Gov. Henry McMaster has signed a measure into law that prohibits the keeping of big cats, bears and great apes as pets. Sponsored by Rep. Heather Crawford (R-68), H. 3531 passed the House and Senate by votes of 99 to 5 and 38 to 0 respectively.

Prior to passage of the bill, South Carolina was one of only five states with virtually no laws regarding private possession of dangerous wild animals, which has resulted in situations such as a woman who was mauled by a relative’s pet black bear, an 8-year-old boy who was bitten by his family’s pet tiger, and the discovery of a tiger in a filthy, cramped cage in a citizen’s front yard – all of which happened in the state of South Carolina.

Kim Kelly, South Carolina senior state director for The Humane Society of the United States, said: "We applaud the provisions of this bill that prohibit the private ownership of dangerous wild animals such as tigers, bears and chimpanzees, which is critical for ensuring public safety and animal welfare. South Carolina’s lawmakers have taken a very important step forward in passing this law.

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