SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica City Council will consider a proposed ban of exotic animals from public places such as the pier to crack down on street performers who use these animals for exploitation.
On Tuesday, January 10, the city council during their next scheduled meeting will consider banning exotic animals that include arachnids, such as spiders and scorpions, lagomorpha such as rabbits, and rodentia, which includes rats.
The proposal seeks to “prohibit such animals from the City’s most congested public spaces in order to protect the public’s safety and to promote the general welfare.” Exotic animals would only be allowed in public places through a community events permit or a film permit if the ordinance became law. Violators could face a penalty of up to $500 and/or six months in jail.
In 2015, Santa Monica passed a similar law that banned street performers from taking birds, reptiles and non-human primates into public spaces, which was contested by street performers who relied on exotic animals for their livelihood.
Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu made a proposal in November 2016 that looked to ban exotic animals after an incident that included a handler walking an elephant through Hollywood Hills.
“Wild and exotic animals have a long history of being exploited for public and private entertainment. Treating animals in this manner has taught generations of people that it is okay to view wild and exotic animals as toys. It is time that the City of Los Angeles take action to make clear that exhibiting such animals in this way is no longer in line with our City’s values,” said Ryu in a statement.
The Ringling Bros. Circus show took exception to Ryu’s proposal stating that it would not be able to perform during its annual summer performance at Staples Center if the proposal passed.