Senator Monica Martinez introduces bill to restrict sale of sloths, kangaroos, and other exotic wild animals in New York State

Senator Monica R. Martinez introduced bill S6211 which establishes a definition for exotic animals and expands the existing definition of wild animals. The bill further prohibits exotic animals from being harbored, traded, imported, sold or owned as pets in the same way as wild animals.

“Wild and exotic animals require specific conditions and environments to survive. The habitats in which these animals live in the wild are far from conditions that exist in New York. Any business operating with the intent of profiting by selling these exotic animals should be held accountable under the law for the unethical treatment of animals,” stated Senator Martinez.

The bill clearly defines a wild animal as an indigenous, non-domesticated animal native to the country in which they live, and an exotic animal as a wild animal with an origin of a different continent. The bill further lists all families and orders that would be protected some of which include sloths, kangaroos, hyenas, elephants, wallabies and armadillos.

This bill has swiftly garnered support from a number of organizations. John Di Leonardo, Anthrozoologist and Executive Director of Humane Long Island said, "Humane Long Island applauds Senator Martinez for introducing essential legislation to amend New York State&'s prohibition on keeping wild animals to include exotic animals such as sloths and kangaroos. Sloths are tree-dwelling, tropical animals with sharp teeth and four-inch claws. They are mostly deaf and nearly blind when exposed to bright light. Red kangaroos are the largest marsupial in the world, growing up to 6ft tall and weighing up to 200lbs. A pet Gray kangaroo, which is roughly half the size of a Red kangaroo, made international news last year after he killed his owner and blocked paramedics from reaching him before being shot dead by the police. Wild animals are not pets and treating them like dogs or cats endangers children and animals alike." 

Edita Birnkrant, Executive Director of NYCLASS said, "NYCLASS is thrilled that NY State Senator Martinez has introduced much-needed legislation to expand the definition of 'wild' animals prohibited from being imported, sold or owned in New York. This important bill will prevent thousands of non-native animals from being exploited and endangered by wildlife traffickers recklessly selling these animals to New Yorkers who may not understand that animals such as sloths, kangaroos, ostriches, emus and many others should never be pets. NYCLASS strongly supports the passage of this bill and will work with the Senator to help enact it into law."

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to garner additional support and pass this much needed legislation. It is inhumane and unethical for wild and exotic animals to be sold or kept as pets in New York State. These are not animals that should be closely interacting with people on a daily basis,” stated Senator Martinez.

This bill would not apply to zoological facilities, wildlife sanctuaries and other exclusions under current law.

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