Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(a) Prohibited. Except as provided in subsection (b) hereof, no person shall own, keep or harbor any member of the large cat family, known as felidae, including, but not limited to, lions and all other cats listed as endangered or threatened species in 50 C.F.R. 17.11, in the City, unless such person has obtained a license under the provisions of Section 2.1(b) of 9 C.F.R. Part 2 and strictly follows and meets the applicable standards, rules and regulations of the United States Department of Agriculture as contained in 9 C.F.R. Part 3, Subpart F, and all other Federal, State and local laws applicable to the taking, transporting and keeping of members of the family felidae.
Except as provided in subsection (b) hereof, no person shall own, keep or harbor any member of the large cat family, as aforesaid, on any lot or premises in a Residential District, as set forth in Chapter 337 of these Codified Ordinances, on a lot less than two hundred (200) feet by two hundred (200) feet, or keep or harbor any such cat in any dwelling unit as set forth in Section 325.20 of these Codified Ordinances, or take such a cat upon any public street, sidewalk or other public place, except to transport such a cat in a motorized vehicle in accordance with the transportation requirements contained in Federal, State and local law.
(b) Exceptions. The provisions of subsection (a) hereof do not apply to any circus, carnival, zoo or other event for entertainment, which is authorized by law by the proper and responsible City official, or to a research facility, as defined in 9 C.F.R. Part 1, provided that proper bond or insurance is posted to indemnify those who may be injured or killed by the keeping of such cats. The type and amount of such bond or insurance shall be determined by the Director of Law, except where otherwise provided by ordinance.
The provisions of this subsection do not apply to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
(c) Notice to Remove. Upon complaint of any person that another person owns or is keeping or harboring a large cat on premises in the City in violation of subsection (a) hereof, the Director of Public Safety shall forthwith cause the matter to be investigated. If, after investigation, the facts indicate that such person named in the complaint is in fact the owner of, or is keeping or harboring, any such large cat in the City in violation of subsection (a) hereof, the Director shall forthwith send written notice to such person, requiring such person to safely remove such cat from the City within five (5) days of the date of such notice. However, such notice is not required where such large cat has previously caused serious physical harm, as set forth in Section 601.01 of these Codified Ordinances, or death, to any person, or has escaped and is at large. In such case the Director shall cause such cat to be immediately seized and impounded, if seizure and impoundment are possible without risk of serious physical harm or death to any person.
(d) Seizing and Impounding. The Director of Public Safety shall forthwith cause to be seized and impounded any large cat when the person owning, keeping or harboring such cat has failed to comply with the notice sent pursuant to subsection (c) hereof. Upon such seizure and impoundment, such cat shall be delivered to a place of confinement which may be with any organization which is authorized by law to accept, own, keep or harbor such animals, including, but not limited to, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the Chief of the Division of Wildlife of the State or any other governmental body or unit consenting to take such animal into custody.
If, during the course of seizing and impounding any such large cat, the cat poses a risk of serious physical harm or death to any person, a person authorized by the Director may render such cat immobile by means of tranquilizers or other safe drugs, or if that is not safely possible, then such cat may be killed.
(e) Costs. Any reasonable cost incurred by the Director of Public Safety in seizing, impounding and confining any large cat, pursuant to subsection (d) hereof, shall be charged against the owner, keeper or harborer of such cat and shall be collected by the Director of Law.
(f) Penalty. Whoever violates any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree for the first offense, and for each subsequent offense is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree. A separate offense shall be deemed committed each day a person fails to abide by the notice sent pursuant to subsection (c) hereof after the expiration date stated therein.
(Ord. No. 1002-A-82. Passed 5-24-82, eff. 5-28-82)