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Performing Animal Welfare Society Praises Landmark Captive Cats Federal Law

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San Andreas, CA – A local animal sanctuary is celebrating a new federal law that will protect both big cats and the public.

The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in San Andreas is applauding the Big Cat Public Safety Act that became law today after being signed by President Biden. It prohibits keeping big cats as “pets” and bans contact between them and the public.

“For nearly 40 years, we have been working to protect big cats and other captive wildlife from exploitation and abuse,” said PAWS President and CEO Ed Stewart. “We are very pleased that the Big Cat Public Safety Act has become law, as it will end cruel cub petting operations, save countless animal lives, and protect the public from the danger posed by privately held big cats.”

Currently, PAWS cares for eight rescued tigers at its ARK 2000 sanctuary in Calaveras County, with most of them coming from a cub petting facility. Two others were featured in the Netflix docuseries Tiger King, where the owner relinquished his rights after being shut down by the federal government, as earlier reported here. Another one was bred to be sold as an exotic “pet.” In fact, PAWS states that there are more tigers held in captivity in the U.S. than there are worldwide remaining in the wild.

Those “pets” can turn dangerous, with the latest statistic showing that since 1990, more than 400 dangerous incidents involving captive big cats have occurred in 46 states and the District of Columbia, killing 5 children and 19 adults and leaving hundreds with serious injuries.

“PAWS is very proud of the contributions we have made to ensure the Big Cat Public Safety Act became law, including collaborating with organizations such as the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance,” said Stewart. “Our ultimate goal is to end the use of captive big cats for entertainment, and the Big Cat Public Safety Act is a significant step toward achieving that objective.”

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