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More About This Law

Law Summary

Bear wrestling matches are prohibited.

Full Text of the Law

Section 13A-12-5 Unlawful bear exploitation; penalties.

(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful bear exploitation if he or she knowingly does any one of the following:

(1) Promotes, engages in, or is employed at a bear wrestling match.

(2) Receives money for the admission of another person to a place kept for bear wrestling.

(3) Sells, purchases, possesses, or trains a bear for bear wrestling.

(4) For purposes of exploitation, subjects a bear to surgical alteration in any form, including, but not limited to, declawing, tooth removal, and severing tendons.

(b) Unlawful bear exploitation is a Class B felony and is punishable as provided by law.

(c) Upon the arrest of any person for violating this section, the arresting law enforcement officer, conservation officer, or animal control officer shall have authority to seize and take custody of any bear in the possession of the arrested person.

(d) Upon the conviction of any person for violating the provisions of this section, any court of competent jurisdiction shall have authority to order the forfeiture by the convicted person of any bear, the use of which was the basis of the conviction. Any bears ordered forfeited under this section shall be placed in the custody of a humane shelter, a society that is incorporated for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

(e) In addition to the fines, penalties, and forfeitures imposed under this section, the court may require the defendant to make restitution to the state, any of its political subdivisions, or a humane shelter or a society that is incorporated for the prevention of cruelty to animals for housing, feeding, or providing medical treatment to bears used for unlawful wrestling.

(Acts 1996, No. 96-468, p. 581, ยง1.)

About This Law

Bear wrestling, many years ago, was a crude form of entertainment that had to be delt with. It not only subjected bears to harsh conditions, but also risked the bears' lives as well.

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