Santa Fe bans wild and exotic animal acts - Albuquerque Journal

Santa Fe bans wild and exotic animal acts

Wild and exotic animal acts will no longer be allowed in Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe City Council and mayor on Wednesday voted 8-1 to approve an amendment to the city’s animal welfare ordinance that would prevent such acts within the city limits. While it doesn’t ban circuses, it does prohibit those that include acts featuring elephants, tigers and bears that perform for entertainment purposes.

While most people who spoke during a public hearing prior to the vote supported the amendment, several people said the city was going too far.

Acts like those featuring animals like elephants Patty and Dutchess, part of a Ringling Brothers circus in Rio Rancho in 2013, have been banned in Santa Fe. (Journal file)

Cynthia Paxton said she was tired of the council’s efforts for “behavior modification legislation,” like its recent ban of smoking in the city’s downtown Plaza.

“First it’s the circus, then the rodeo, then the pet parade,” she said, wondering where the line would be drawn. “At some point you have to allow the will of the people to take hold.”

But supporters said there was overwhelming public support for the restriction, one woman presenting a petition with 850 signatures supporting the ban.

And several people supporting the proposal said the city wasn’t going far enough.

“If you truly believe in animal welfare, this ordinance is hypocritical,” Richard Mares said, adding the city should start by banning rodeos, which he said also abuses animals by making them do things they don’t want to do.

The amendment outlaws exhibitions of wild or exotic animals performing tricks, giving rides, or participating “as accompaniments for the entertainment, amusement, or benefit of a live audience.” Exceptions are made for animal exhibitions that are for educational purposes. Also excluded from the ban are “commonly accepted domesticated” cats and dogs, as well as cattle, swine, sheep, goats, donkeys, horses and ponies — animals that often appear at fairs and rodeos.

City Councilor Signe Lindell, who sponsored the proposal, said it’s well documented that animals made to perform tricks are subjected to abuse during training and while being housed.

“Entertainment is not an excuse for animal abuse and cruelty,” she said.

Ron Trujillo cast the lone “no” vote against the ban, saying that it would “open up a can of worms.”

While a circus is scheduled for Friday at the city’s rodeo grounds, that show will go on as the event has already been permitted.

Shortly after the vote, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a statement attributed to PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews:

“Santa Feans demanded a more compassionate city, and Councilor Signe Lindell has heard them and delivered. Santa Fe now joins New York City, San Francisco, and other cities in banning exhibitors that profit from animal misery, and PETA looks forward to a day when circuses and other businesses that beat, whip, and electrically shock animals are shunned at every corner of the country,” the statement read.

Also on Wednesday, the Council denied a request by Arizona Fine Wine and Spirits, for a waiver for locating a Total Wine & More liquor store on Zafarano Drive within 300-feet of a place of worship.

While the vote was unanimous, councilors said there was a chance the state’s Alcohol and Gaming Division could still approve it, or the city could face a lawsuit.

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop


Halyna Hutchins remembered as a gifted cinematographer
ABQnews Seeker
Ukrainian native called herself a 'restless ... Ukrainian native called herself a 'restless dreamer' and 'adrenaline junkie'
APS bus drivers get a pay boost amid ongoing ...
ABQnews Seeker
Board of Education OKs hiring, referral ... Board of Education OKs hiring, referral bonuses as rate reaches $18 per hour
City: Official not drunk in accident
ABQnews Seeker
Allegation was made by Gonzales against ... Allegation was made by Gonzales against COO in mayoral debate with Keller
Las Cruces educator named NM Teacher of the Year
ABQnews Seeker
Lorynn Guerrero will represent New Mexico ... Lorynn Guerrero will represent New Mexico in the national competition
Albuquerque's outdoors access lands it on a good list
ABQnews Seeker
Outside Magazine named Albuquerque one of ... Outside Magazine named Albuquerque one of its 20 top cities and towns to live in on its annual list.
Search warrant, 911 calls detail deadly incident on movie ...
ABQnews Seeker
Actor, producer Alec Baldwin shocked and ... Actor, producer Alec Baldwin shocked and saddened at tragic incident that left colleague dead
Governor to tout public works deal in DC visit
ABQnews Seeker
Lujan Grisham to visit the White ... Lujan Grisham to visit the White House, meet with congressional leaders
State GOP, district attorney settle records lawsuit
ABQnews Seeker
At issue was information focused on ... At issue was information focused on vandalism at party headquarters
Booster shots cleared for more NM adults
ABQnews Seeker
Getting first doses to the unvaccinated ... Getting first doses to the unvaccinated is, however, a priority