Rescue. Advocacy. Sanctuary. For Life.
Since 1984

Help Stop Cruel Cub Petting
and the Big Cat Pet Trade
You helped pass the federal Big Cat Public Safety Act in the U.S. House of Representatives last month – with a strong bipartisan majority voting in favor – but that session of Congress ran out before the bill could be taken up by the Senate. (Thank you to everyone who contacted their Congressperson!)

The Big Cat Public Safety Act has been reintroduced as H.R. 263 by Reps. Michael Quigley, D-Ill., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn. We need your help once again to pass this important bill – and take it across the finish line!
The bill would ban the private ownership of big cats and restrict public contact with these animals, putting an end to cub petting operations and their endless breeding of big cats for profit.

PAWS cares for tigers who were rescued from the exotic “pet” trade and defunct cub petting facilities – including Kim, Claire, Bigelow, Sawyer and Wilhelm. Help us ensure that no more big cats have to suffer for entertainment and profit.

Take action!

Please ask your U.S. Representative to co-sponsor the Big Cat Public Safety Act, H.R. 263. Always include the bill number in your communications. (If you are a constituent of Rep. Tom McClintock of California, please see note below.)

1.   Message. Locate your U.S. Representative here. Click on the Representative’s link which will take you to their home page. Locate “Contact” on the menu and send your message via the online form provided there.

Sample message: I am a constituent who very strongly supports the Big Cat Public Safety Act, H.R. 263, to end the exploitation and suffering of captive big cats in our country and protect the public. I urge you to co-sponsor this important bill. (See informational points below that you can add to your message.)

If your Congressperson is one of the sponsors of the bill, please write and thank them.

2.   Call your Representative’s Washington, DC, office. Simply say that you are a constituent who is very concerned about the welfare of captive big cats and public safety. Urge the Representative to co-sponsor the Big Cat Public Safety Act, H.R. 263.

3.   Share. Use social media to encourage your friends, family and colleagues to take action. You can use the share links at the bottom of this page to share this alert.

Informational points on the Big Cat Public Safety Act, H.R. 263:

  • Prohibits the possession of lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, cougars, or any hybrid of these species by private individuals.
  • Zoos, universities, and bona fide sanctuaries are exempt from the prohibition.
  • Current captive big cat owners are grandfathered in, but they must register their animals. They cannot breed or acquire more big cats.
  • Restricts direct contact between the public and big cats of any age.

Why this bill is needed:

  • Thousands of big cats are thought to be in private hands, posing a danger to the public and to first responders when these animals escape or attack.
  • Since 1990, there have been nearly 380 dangerous incidents involving captive big cats in 46 states and the District of Columbia, with 20 adults and five children killed and many more injured.
  • Cub petting operations continuously breed big cats so they can sell photo and handling sessions with young cubs to the public. Cubs are often subjected to rough handling, denied sleep, and abused by their handlers.
  • Cubs are separated from their mothers shortly after birth. When they get too big to handle and are no longer profitable, they may be funneled into the exotic pet trade, sold to other disreputable exhibitors, or may end up in the illegal trade in wildlife parts.
  • Cub petting facilities fuel the demand for “pet” big cats.

Note to constituents of Rep. Tom McClintock: The representative has introduced his own bill on this issue. It is a half-measure that would allow cruel cub petting operations to continue, along with the unchecked breeding necessary to make these places profitable. We still urge you to contact Rep. McClintock, stating that you strongly support H.R. 263 only. It is important that he knows where his constituents stand on this issue.

PAWS needs your help to fight the exploitation of big cats and other captive wild animals – and your support for our work to rescue and provide lifelong natural-habitat homes for wildlife in need. Please make a donation today!