South Carolina outlaws keeping wild animals as pets

Keeping bears, among other wild animals as pets, will be illegal starting Jan.1

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina will no longer allow lions, tigers, or bears to be kept as pets.

A new law taking effect January 1 makes it illegal to own a “large wild cat, non-native bear or great ape.” That leaves just four states without rules against keeping wild animals as pets, according to the Associated Press.

House Natural Resources Chairman David Hiott says officials guess there are fewer than a hundred statewide. The numbers are unclear, however, because the state doesn’t track it.

No humans have been killed by wild pets, but Hiott says the law is about preventing potential tragedies.

The Humane Society has documented at least 10 cases since 1991 of bears, big cats or primates getting loose and/or injuring someone in the state.