Major win! US Senate passes the Big Cat Public Safety Act

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

By on December 6, 2022 with 165 Comments

Update 12/20/22: President Biden signed the Big Cat Public Safety Act into law.

In a major advance in our long fight against the abuse of captive big cats, the U.S. Senate just passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 263/ S. 1210), a bill we have championed for years because it prohibits keeping big cats as pets and also bans contact between big cats and the public. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill in July by a robust bipartisan vote of 278 to 134, and now the Big Cat Public Safety Act heads to the White House for President Biden’s signature. Earlier this year the president issued a statement supporting the legislation, so we expect to see him sign it without hesitation.

Our undercover investigations have helped expose the abuse of big cats in the U.S. This all starts with the breeding of big cats to produce cubs, who are removed from their mothers at birth. They are passed around for photos and profit, then discarded after a few months when they become too large and dangerous to handle. It then gets even worse for them, as they are warehoused in cramped cages at roadside zoos and pseudo-sanctuaries, killed to make space for new animals, or kept as pets in backyard cages throughout the country.

With so many big cats ending up in the hands of unqualified people, it’s no surprise that emergency responders and local law enforcement agencies have been forced to deal with the inevitable escapes and attacks. Since 1990, more than 400 dangerous incidents involving captive big cats have occurred in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Five children and 19 adults have been killed, and hundreds of others have lost limbs or suffered other often-traumatic injuries.

India, Elsa and Loki, former “pet” tigers now living at Black Beauty Ranch—which is a Texas sanctuary run by the Humane Society of the United States—embody what has happened to many big cats in this country. Loki arrived in February 2019 after being found in an abandoned Houston home where he was living in a cage so small he could barely move. In 2021, the Bexar County Sheriff’s office seized Elsa after responding to a call about a crying animal and finding the 6-month-old tiger outdoors in freezing temperatures and wearing a harness. Just a few months later, authorities rescued India after a viral video showed him wandering the streets of a Houston neighborhood.

Today’s historic win has been a decade in the making, and results from our broad effort to address the exploitation of big cats by every means available. We supported efforts to pass laws banning the private possession of big cats and other dangerous wild animals in states such as Ohio, which passed a law following the 2011 Zanesville incident where a man released his menagerie of 38 big cats and a dozen other wild animals. We worked with legislators in Indiana, Nevada and Virginia to pass bans on public contact with big cats and other wild animals. And we successfully fought repeated efforts to reverse a ban on public contact with big cats in Kansas. But a more comprehensive federal law was necessary. This is a nationwide problem and demands a nationwide solution to interrupt the cycle of abuse for big cats and to keep the public safe.

Congress considered the Big Cat Public Safety Act in several previous sessions. Our consistent advocacy built awareness of the problem among legislators, leading to a successful House vote in the 116th Congress, and in the actions taken this year by the House and Senate. We could not have reached this point without the commitment and hard work of Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, co-leads of the Senate bill, S. 1210, who were essential to achieving today’s victory in the Senate and Reps. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., the co-leads of H.R. 263, who helped bring about the House votes in the 116th and 117th Congresses. House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., helped advance the bills in their respective chambers.

Our campaign attracted the support of roughly 90 official endorsers, including many law enforcement organizations and officers, whose voices were integral as they are on the front lines of the big cat crisis, tasked with response when these dangerous situations become deadly.

When signed into law by President Biden, the Big Cat Public Safety Act will sound the death knell for the cub petting industry, and eliminate the terrible risks posed by the private possession of such animals. By closing the door on cub petting and the era of private citizens keeping big cats inappropriately, we’re making the country safer, better and kinder for all. It couldn’t happen fast enough.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    Tenemos que aprender a respetar a todos los animalitos y cuidar de ellos al igual que de nuestro planeta

  2. Cathie Desell says:

    this is amazing news. I have volunteered at a reputable “big cat” Sanctuary in Texas for 20 years, so I really appreciate the importance of this legislation.

  3. Marta says:

    Zoo animals belong in their wild environment. Respect all live animals.!! Why don’t we try to put some humans that keep this cats in cages in their cage for a month see how they feel. .

    • Gilly gilly says:

      Amen to that! All animals deserve to be free like God intended them to be not in cages ,zoo’s, backyards circus or any other hideous ideas that man kind does all in the name of “MONEY” POINT BLANK PERIOD!!!

    • Robin V says:

      I hear you Marta!!! Sounds like a great punishment to me!! I hate seeing all animals abused!! I’m so glad this Bill will be signed by President Biden!!!

      Any more that we can get through??? Keep up the great work!!!

  4. Tamera says:

    That is awesome news

    • Stapleton says:

      I would like to know if there is some kind of plan or procedure in place that will be put into upon the signature of President Biden that will enable people to notify someone (who?)of the locations of animals that are currently in this cruel and desperate situations. For people that have witnessed these atrocities and were powerless to do anything about it as no laws were being broken now finally comes the time that using your voice can save an animal from suffering. I hope there is space and sanctuary for these poor abused animals. And finally today I pray that this law doesn’t create the result of having to put any of these big cats down for fear of public safety. Tranquilize them…please don’t kill them. Give them a chance to live without fear or pain or hunger. Thank you for getting this legislation passed into law to give this country a chance to become a leader in stopping the exploitation of these majestic animals.

      • Jennifer Reeves says:

        It would also be great if there was a plan built into this legislation, that would create a way people could surrender their animals without getting into trouble for doing so. because you just know that there are people out there that won’t want to go to jail for this or pay, heavy fines or whatever the penalty is, and will kill the animals instead. That is not a better solution for these animals than the conditions they’re in now. None of it is OK but we all know that if humans feel threatened by this new law being passed, they will punish the animals so they’re not punished themselves. I really really hope there’s a good system in place for this when the law is signed by the president.

  5. Susan Emory says:

    Thank for perious tigers safe

  6. Phil NONA says:


  7. Tom Conroy says:

    They deserve so much better then what we’ve done to them. I’m happy to see this step towards them being treated with respect and dignity like all living things should be treated.

  8. Latha Metta says:

    We need to protect all and animals from cruelty abuse and neglect
    I am glad Senate has passed the Act and waiting for it pass into Law


  9. Sharon dyal says:

    A pup was killed in a shelter n California, Baldwin park animal shelter yesterday
    This happened in town same name. Peta needs to investigate. Pup was what two three most old, been there for month. Killed due to it being anxious. This one heard about. We can’t have these places murdering beautiful doggies kittens cause lack room or animal anxious n a cage.

  10. Latha Metta says:

    Need animal protection from government
    Animals are abused and neglected by Humans

    Please consider this Act

    Thank you

  11. Christine Oliveira says:

    I am very pleased to hear they pass this law. Keep up the great work

  12. John Kovacsiss says:

    End this now


    We must protect all animals. They have rights and don’t deserve abuse.

  14. Rob says:

    Save all the 🐈 big & little ones.

  15. Lee Jack says:

    Here is my comment. People of the world come together and we have the power to stop anything. Make any act. Change any law. We stand together and force out any politician out of office until we get what we want. There is my comment. We need to simple stand together.

  16. Sheila Slutsky says:

    This is the right thing to do albeit overdue. Thanks to all making this possible.

  17. Marianne Trujillo says:

    Save these babies

  18. Nicole Marie Manarite says:

    That’s good they passed the bill on abusing tigers they should be free in the wild and not in zoos or circus

  19. Janice Berri says:

    So happy to see this and know the Big Cats will be protected!!

  20. Marie Tucci says:

    Im so glad the senate finally did something.

  21. Jeanie Ahrens says:

    What wonderful news! It’s long past due.

  22. Robert Santora says:

    Or just like to thank everyone who fights for all these animals especially all these big cats thank you again

  23. Maryjo Barco says:

    Thank You!!!!!

  24. Laurie J Knapp says:

    Great news

  25. Ethel Christensen says:

    Thank u for going our bug cats keep it up

  26. Nancy Michael says:

    Someone has to take stand cause they can’t speak so we have to. No animal should be abuse starved should be treated with respect.

  27. Lonnie Banks says:

    PLEASE SAVE THE VIG CATS!!!!!❤️❤️❤️❤️

  28. Shelley Scott says:

    Stop this nonsense for the sake of the planet and animals

  29. Doreen Davidson says:

    This is so awesome 😻

  30. Jonell Mosley says:

    So very happy. This has been needed for some time. Thankyou and Godbless

  31. Joy RandolphI am so happy to hear this, now these beautiful animals says:

    I am so glad to hear this. Now these beautiful will be able to live their lives the way God meant for them to. Thank you!!

  32. J dakota cimo says:

    What wonderful news. This should have happened long ago. Thank you for your work!!!

  33. Eugene Manges says:

    My question is….Who in the heck voted against this bill???(134) No votes…What kind of j*** these people are…Thank you for pushing this through…

  34. Margaret McCourt says:

    I am delighted that there are compassionate people in congress who are interested in fairness towards animals 😀

  35. Elisa Terranova says:

    I can’t thank all you hard-working people who take on these kind of projects enough. I can’t imagine how much running around and calling and just doing incredible things to get these kind of projects together and off the ground. I’m sure it takes a lot of people that will never get credit for all the hard work that they put in, but I am here to say, “Thank you, thank you”, to everybody and anybody who took part in bringing this desperately-needed legislation for the big cats to the Congress and the president.

    You almost have to be pretty messed up not to agree to this legislation. It’s highly sickening how people make money off the beautiful big cats and then just discard them without so much is a thought , I hope the bill includes some kind of “punishment” to the people that continue to defy the new legislation.

    Again, thank you so much.
    Elisa Terranova… Huge animal, lover! I have five “little cats”, and have rescued dozens of others throughout the years.


    Please help to save wildlife and the 🌎!!! 🙏❤️🙏

  37. Lori Corbett says:

    Not ment to be pets. This should never happen. They all end put being put in a refuge or killed.
    Stop this now.

  38. Victoria says:

    HALLELUJAH 💖. Awesome news
    Why would anyone want to kill these amazing creatures God has made? Thank you!!

  39. Jill Hurley says:

    This is excellent news!

  40. Lisa Shaffer says:

    Thank you to EVERYONE who helped make this a reality?!?!?!
    Big Cata/Wild Animals do not belong with the unqualified and untrained who want them for profit or entertainment purposes?!?? GOD BLESS THE INNOCENT CREATURES!!

  41. Nirosha Peltier says:

    Please stop any kind of Abuse on these innocent animals… animals are not ours.

  42. Nancy Moore says:

    Good going!

  43. Diane says:

    This is very important for these big cats. In fact all animals need a sanctuary. I’m glad the legislation realized the importance of this bill. Thank you for all your hard work support and dedication.

  44. Dolores Mikolajczyk says:

    The best news ever! Long overdue!

  45. Eder says:

    Yes! Finally moving one step closer to ending animal cruelty for profit.

  46. Rosalie Elkin says:

    This has been long coming and we’re so thankful that this has finally been put in place!!

  47. Virginia tello says:

    Stop animal cruelty 🙏

  48. Sharon Firesheets says:

    I am so glad they passed this bill! I think it’s horrific what people do to these wild tigers & lions and many other animals! Let see what we can do for ALL animals! They DO NOT DESERVE TO BE TREATED THIS WAY!!!

  49. Shawneen Hicks says:

    Thank God!! They deserve to be protected.

  50. Jan Nicholson says:

    Please leave these innocent creatures alone. They deserve their freedom and to stay with their mamas.

  51. Allison Rose says:

    These big cats need to be free to live amongst us. Not in a cage or mistreated by men. Let them live their lives as was intended!

  52. Debra Dvis says:

    Stop this abuse

  53. Marie Quintin-freeman says:


  54. Dina corrao says:

    It’s about time!!

  55. lori sanders says:

    All animals are to be respected. They bare babies and care for them naturally. If they for some reason in your possession they want your direction they have a brain and and feelings.Learn. They are depending on the human kind we call brilliant and caring. Those who abuse should not have ANY ANIMALS OR ANY TYPE OF LIVING creatures. No fish or hamster nothing.

  56. Juanita says:

    I really appreciate all this effort to save this beautiful big cat .

  57. Edith Covington says:

    I want to be part of saving cats

  58. says:

    We must also protect Mountain Lions and end hunting and abuse of fish and wildlife and the US forest service

  59. stacie says:

    We must also protect Mountain Lions and end hunting and abuse of fish and wildlife and the US forest service

  60. Candace Hughes says:

    Save them all.

  61. Diana Bryant says:

    I am begging you to support the Big Cat Pubkuc Safety act.. Roadside Zoos should not be allowed and people that own them personally. Too often they are not properly cared for and are in cages that are not big enough for them to move around properly. I can promise you would be doing them a huge favor!!!
    Please do this for them and their protection!

  62. Karen Copus says:

    I am soooo thrilled that finally big cats will be protected from being exploited !!! Now we need to work on the wolves!!!!!!

  63. Pixie Mason says:

    I really hope this goes through and is enforced. These animals definitely need protection.

  64. Hortencia Morales says:

    I support this legislation. It makes no sense to have big cats as pet. They belong in their own natural wild habitat.

  65. Dianna Guyumdzhyan says:

    I just want the safety for these poor animals! It is wrong to put the in a zoo or keep them as pets there meant to be in the wild where they belong they deserve freedom !!

  66. C.C. pelkey says:

    Wonderful News , elated to hear this , Now ! , if we could get all the other Animal Welfare Bills signed into Law . These Beautiful creatures need our help , they have suffered enough pain , torture , & cruelty for far too long at the hands of humanity . We are supposed to be caretakers & stewards not blood thirsty hunters , killing innocent creatures for sport . Protection For All Animals !!!

  67. Annette Marie says:

    This is great news I appreciate the importance of the legislation it’s important to participate and to try and save all animals.

  68. Todd Reinhardt says:

    Fantastic news and long overdue. Thank you HSUS for your efforts. When signed into law, will any private citizen currently in possession of a big cat be required to give it up?

  69. DEBORAH LONG says:

    Wild animals are NOT pets. They deserve our respect and protection.

  70. Lori says:

    Stop killing beautiful tigers and all natural wildlife animals showing lots of peoples enjoyed and watch their beautiful life and please STOP passed the laws and you have no rights to DO that….all of you Senate and any laws show no remorseful and please show the feelings forward wildlife beautiful animals…thank you ❤️

  71. Ron Hodges says:

    So will big cat sanctuaries have to register with the government or HSUS? What about individuals who are humanely caring for big cats. Will they have to be surrendered? Don’t get me wrong, I strongly support the passing of this law. I just wonder about some of the practicalities. Thanks.

  72. Lillian Arboleda says:

    We demand justice justice justice justice justice justice

  73. Michelangelo Corris says:

    This is great news!! For the safety of the Big Cat!! I love it.
    Thank you!

  74. Rachel Ortiz says:

    Precious and few. It is these types of beautiful animals that should be protected for our future to enjoy looking and appreciate.

  75. Chantel Kravontka says:

    Please pass this bill. These animals belong in the wild, not for peoples entertainment. These beautiful creatures belong in their natural habits.

  76. Joyce Carbonell says:

    Great news This is a giant step forward in protecting these beautiful animals. Thank you HSUS.

  77. Denise Neuzil says:

    I am so thrilled hearing this news. I volunteered at a wildlife rescue just north of L.A. from mid 80’s to early 90’s where most of our big cats and other animals were rescues from roadside circuses, or private homes. We discussed this all the time about how to get a law like this one passed. Thank you for your passion and fortitude. You are true heroes to these beautiful animals!!

  78. Marium Milchak-Wilkie says:

    Thulere us no need to want hurt any animals needlessly!
    Thank God for people like Ellen and other believers that support animals rights!
    Who starts this stuff?

  79. Peter Lockwood says:

    I have been waiting a long long time to hear this great news!! I pray no big cats, or small, will ever suffer another day at the hands of humans🐾🐾🙏🏼🙏🏼

  80. Maria Rodriguez says:

    We have to show respect and consideration to these beautiful animals they are part of our planet beauty, from North Miami Beach, Florida!

  81. Shari Joel says:

    I am so glad someone is going to protect these beautiful majestic animals. To protect from poachers.

  82. Sharon Meyers says:

    This is the first time in a long time that my anxiety is less. I’m so thrilled that finally these beautiful animals will really be taken care of. 👍

  83. Jessica seal says:

    They are not pets

  84. Valerie Lowdermilk says:

    That’s good yeans passed that law

  85. Victor. Anderson says:

    Thanks for all ur hard work
    Big cat lover 🤠

  86. Kaitlynn Pierre says:

    Please end this

  87. Julie Armbruster says:

    This is a historic win for the animals. We continue to be their voices and appreciate this day!
    Lions Tigers and Bears in Alpine, California is my closest sanctuary and we love all our animals there’s
    Thank you to everyone who supported this!

  88. Tyana Maddock says:

    Thank you for your great work making the lives of so many animals safe and happier! And thank you for making this world more humane!

  89. Maricela Lizarraga says:

    Wild animals belong in the wild

  90. Paul Zuckerman says:

    This news makes by day. I’m thinking today of all the cats who have suffered in the past but waiting for this day but also of the untold numbers who will be spared the worst of human exploitation and abuse. Thanks to us all in the HSUS community.

  91. Italia Pier says:

    Thank you for passing the Big Cat Safety Act! Long overdue and I am so grateful!

  92. Susan Glynn says:

    Akitamama stay6 protect the majestic before they disappear

  93. Rebecca Devine says:

    This is wonderful!!! Them being protected is such a very kind n amazing gift that we can provide for them!!
    Thank you with all my heart!

  94. Patrick Kobold says:

    I am glad there are people that care for the well being of animals and work tirelessly to keep them safe. In my opinion this is the war of good vs. evil. Man has meddled enough with nature, and man ought to stop trying to outdo the natural beauty and wonder in this world. Thank you for loosening mans slimy grasp on these precious big cats.

  95. Rebecca Devine says:

    I’m hoping that all the beautiful animals will receive the same gift!!
    Elephants especially need protecting! They are so intelligent!!! We have learned babysitting from them!! Among other things!!!

  96. Angie says:

    Please help for our future Generations

  97. Kathy says:

    Please protect our big cats and wildlife.

  98. Darlene Richardson says:

    Huzzah! Thank the Lord and thank all of you for your years long efforts to attain this monumental legislation. Now on to seeing it signed and enforced.

  99. Daisha says:

    Fantastic News!🎉

  100. Tuesday says:

    Please everyone let’s all try and help these animals they all deserve a great life

  101. Cynthia Baker says:

    That’s wonderful news. Please fight for legislation that will stop abuse to all domestic animals.

  102. Yolanda says:


  103. Anna Whitney says:

    Thank goodness this law finally get past I hope it passes for other animals that are also being used at the expense of human greed!!

  104. Cathy McCarthy says:

    Thank you! God Bless You!!!

  105. Gabriele Joiner says:

    This is such amazing news!!! I am such a huge animal lover and an old rescuer who unfortunately can no longer do rescue work with dogs and cats do to my age, but I still advocate for animals and will never stop as long as I live. I have a burden for all creatures great and small and wished we lived in a perfect world where humans would not abuse another living, breathing being which saddens me greatly. Thank you so much for all you are doing!
    Gabriele Joiner

  106. Terry Henegar says:

    Thank you all for passing this bill. Hopefully this will stop the abuse of these animals

  107. Frances Miller says:


  108. Gary Taylor says:

    Please stop the Big Cat cruaĺ treatment and keep them safe from owners that know nothing about the proper treatment for these Big Cats .
    Thank you,
    Gary Taylor

  109. Joseph Valencia says:

    Soooooo glad!!!!!!!! 😊

  110. Whitney says:

    Thank you for your advocacy work! This is such good news!

  111. Elizabeth Cuellar says:

    This is Wonderful ❗Thank You to everyone who made this happen, & Kisses to All of YOU

  112. Lisa Garcia says:

    Thank you for saving the big cats is good to hear other people saving animals especially the big cats amen!!!🙏😇🙏🌼🍀😊💞🌹🌹💕💯💯💯💯

  113. Maryurit Abreu says:

    Es una gran victoria. La vida animal es tan valiosa como la lo es la vida humana.

  114. Lynn says:

    Big cats or any animals should not be abused in anyway ever!

  115. Sue Wahl says:

    I am so pleased! It’s another step forward for the safety and protection of wildlife.

  116. Nancy Hoffman says:

    Wonderful news! After watching the documentary “The Elephant in the Living Room” about the struggle authorities went thru to help a lion held selfishly by it’s owner in a horrible confinement, I have done all I can to educate anyone who will listen. Thanks to all who work to end the suffering of all animals!

  117. DeAnna Kay Wiley says:

    Save all the kitties! People should not use or abuse them. They deserve to live free as God intended!!!

  118. Agostina says:

    Thanks ☺️☺️☺️☺️👍👍👍 let save this beautiful creatures

  119. Elaine Henderson says:

    Please protect Tigers

  120. Gina Carmen Genao says:

    I’m so happy that we have laws that protect animals

  121. Sabrina Shawver says:

    This is wonderful news!! Thank each of you for all that you do for the animal kingdom.

  122. JUDY MARTIN says:

    Absolutely great news. No one should ever keep a lion or tiger as a pet. They need space to run and never kept in a cage. They need freedom. I really can’t go to any road side or city zoo. It makes me sad to see all the animals living in such limited space. Thanks for doing the right thing to help our furry friends.

  123. Patricia Strange says:

    This is. Wonderful. Long time coming !!! Soo happy they cannot take advantage of these great animals. Especially the little ones!!!

  124. Roberto Segovia says:

    We need to preserve wild life in our planet, we the humans as the higher intellectual capacity in the planet, are responsible for taking care of our home and all living beings in it.

  125. Maria says:

    I am soooo excited!! It’s about time we start caring for animals and their well being. They deserve to be free and live the life nature meant for them. We need to stop exploiting and abusing animals. Thank you to all involved in making this happen.

  126. Kathleen St.John says:

    I Am so very happy to read such great news! And I’m proud of the folks in Congress who supported it. Its how we should work together…both sides of the aisle!! Thank you for all that you do to protect these animals- they all need our voices to speak up for them!!

  127. Alvina Cunningham says:

    This is AMAZING!

  128. Maria Fuentes says:

    Great news! We have to protect and respect wild animals outside of their natural environment. It’s not fair for them to keep them captive, just for fun to others, to make profit, or as house pets, their aren’t pets. We need to protect them, cause they can’t protect by themselves.

  129. Faye Butler says:

    Put a stop to this

  130. Maribel RENDON says:

    Be there voice 😸😸😻

  131. Camie Belvis says:

    Please end this murdering once and for all of these beutiful animals.

  132. Julaine Hurst says:

    So glad this is happening. So proud of everyone voices. We need to speak for them. Thanks.

  133. Michael Fisher says:

    This is fantastic news and a gigantic victory for big cats and the natural world. Thank you HSUS, US Congress members who voted in favor, and all the others who persevered and worked for many years to make this a reality. Congratulations!

  134. Vanessa Hickling says:

    These Cats deserve to be safe and taken care of not abused for financial gain. Thank you Human Society And everyone else who got us this far! Thank God.

  135. Robert Joros says:

    This is just great work! Love this.

  136. Michael hHaprov says:

    May all who participated in this movement be blessed and a big Thank You to you. May this movement and many more animals be saved. GOD BLESS

  137. Karyn Hahn says:

    So happy this is now law and these beautiful creatures will be able to live out their lives in peace and freedom.

  138. Denise Sanders says:

    Thank goodness you guys are bringing attention to this cruelty to these beautiful tigers and other beautiful animals!!!! None of God’s creatures should ever be treated that way!!! Only with love and kindness!!! The way our father in heaven intended !!!!He put these animals here for our enjoyment not to miss treated!!The people that hurt animals will pay dearly in the long run and they so deserve it!!!God bless you!!!!keep up the great work 👍 . I will be praying for you and these animals!!! Denise Sanders

  139. Linda says:

    Fantastic news… Thank you

  140. Gail Kazmer says:


  141. Gloria says:

    Fantastic news

  142. Gustavo says:

    This is really great news! Do you know or can you get to know when this law will go into effect? Thank you very much

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