The City of Wenatchee now has a new ordinance on its books which prohibits certain animals from being used in traveling performances within its jurisdictional boundaries.

At a special meeting of the Wenatchee City Council on Thursday at Wenatchee Valley College's Mish ee twie Conference Center, councilmembers unanimously voted to restrict the use and possession of "exotic and wild animals" with limited exceptions.

The Council's action comes on the heels of many citizen protests which were largely brought by the local animal rights group North Central Washington for Animal Compassion (NCWAC).

City Administrator, Laura Gloria, says she feels the new ordinance should prove to be a satisfactory compromise for NCWAC and other concerned citizens.

"The City Council had to balance allowing certain events to happen and/or not wanting to get into the compliance side of the issue. We simply don't have the capacity to be monitoring something on that level. But we also wanted to focus on the safety and well-being of the animals, so I think at the end of the day, while they would like to have probably seen us restrict a little bit more they were happy with the outcome."

The new ordinance will not impact accredited educational activities featuring wild animals and is not applicable to domestic pets or farm animals, i.e. cats, dogs, cattle, horses, etc.

Gloria says the City also repealed the language regarding permit requirements from its previous ordinance about animal displays and performances.

"We took that section out because the language was very vague. So that language has been removed and now it's very clear that you are either allowed to have the animal as part of an accredited program or you can't. It took the need for some sort of permit or license out of the equation."

Gloria adds the updated law was based on congressional legislation that several states have already adopted.

The list of wild and exotic animals specifically outlined in the ban includes primates like apes and monkeys; large reptiles such as alligators and crocodiles; lions, tigers, and other big cats; elephants; bears; and marsupials.

Passage of the new ordinance came on the same evening the Jordan World Circus was performing the first of two scheduled shows at the Town Toyota Center.

In January, NCWAC successfully lobbied the Greater Wenatchee Regional Public Facilities District (PFD), which oversees the operations and finances of Town Toyota Center, to temporarily ban all animals from performing at the circus.

In a subsequent action, the City Council amended that decision to allow a limited number of animals, such as dogs, llamas, and bison to perform at the circus.

The new ordinance will take effect on May 11.

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