South Carolina Passes New Exotic Animal Ownership Bill

South Carolina passed a bill through the House on Thursday that could make it illegal to own many exotic and dangerous wild animals as pets. The bill will now move on to the state Senate for further approval.

The bill prohibits the buying, selling, importing, owning, and possession of certain animals.

Newly banned animals would include lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cougars, cheetahs, snow leopards, and clouded leopards; all bears not native to South Carolina and not subject to oversight by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources; and all great apes, including all species of chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans.

If passed into law, the bill will go into effect on January 1, 2018. Residents who already own a banned animal as of that date will be allowed to keep it, but only if they meet certain conditions.