(For info in other states on domestic/hybrid cats see: www.hybridlaw.com )
*** Update July 1, 2013 ***
Bill SF 247 was passed by both the Iowa House an Senate, and signed by the Governor on May 15, 2013. Bengal Cats and Savannahs that are four generations or more from an Asian Leopard Cat are now exempt from the “dangerous wild animal” law in Iowa, effective 7/1/13. (Chausies and other domestic cat breeds with a hybrid background still fall under the Dangerous Wild Animal law.)
Here is the text of the 2013 bill:
Senate File 247
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE POSSESSION OF CATS CLASSIFIED AS BENGALS AND SAVANNAHS. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: Section 1. Section 717F.1, subsection 5, paragraph b, Code 2013, is amended to read as follows: b. “Dangerous wild animal” includes an animal which is the offspring of an animal provided in paragraph “a” , and another animal provided in that paragraph or any other animal. It also includes animals which are the offspring of each subsequent generation. However, a dangerous wild animal does not include any of the following: (1) The offspring of a domestic dog and a wolf, or the offspring from each subsequent generation in which at least one parent is a domestic dog. (2) (a) The offspring of a domestic cat and another member of the family felidae classified as a bengal with an ancestor classified as an Asian leopard cat which is a member of the species prionailurus bengalensis. The bengal must be the fourth or later filial generation of offspring with the first filial generation being the offspring of a domestic cat and an Asian leopard cat, and each subsequent generation being the offspring of a domestic cat. Senate File 247, p. 2 (b) The offspring of a domestic cat and another member of the family felidae classified as a savannah with an ancestor classified as a serval which is a member of the species leptailurus serval. The savannah must be the fourth or later filial generation of offspring with the first filial generation being the offspring of a domestic cat and a serval, and each subsequent generation being the offspring of a domestic cat.
Apr 23 , 2013 update
A bill to exempt 4th generation Bengals and Savannahs (although not Chausies) from Iowa’s dangerous wild animal law in curently in the House. Senate File 247 (SF 247) This bill has passed through the Senate and is currently waiting for a vote in the House before the end of session. Direct link for most current status http://coolice.legis.state.ia.us/Cool-ICE/default.asp?Category=billinfo&Service=Billbook&menu=false&hbill=sf247
June 19, 2012
Someone shared this blog by Rep. Mary Wolfe, she explains in part why the most recent bill is dead and why domestic cats with a hybrid background are still illegal in Iowa. Politics at work!! Definitely worth a read… http://representativemarywolfe.com/2012/03/20/its-a-cat-bill-its-a-pig-bill-its-dead/
The Problem with the law (passed in 2007):
To read the bill that became law, go to http://coolice.legis.state.ia.us/Cool-ICE/default.asp?Category=billinfo&Service=Billbook&menu=true&ga=82&hbill=SF564 or read the full text here. Even though the law states that domestic cats are excluded, it also states that:
…“Dangerous wild animal” includes an animal which is the offspring of an animal listed in paragraphs “1” to “11” and another animal listed in those paragraphs or any other animal. It also includes animals which are the offspring of each subsequent generation. However, a dangerous wild animal does not include the offspring of a domestic dog and a wolf, or the offspring from each subsequent generation in which at least one parent is a domestic dog…
Therefore, according to the Iowa Dept of Agriculture and Land Stewardship who is tasked to enforce this law, any domestic cat that has a small exotic cat in the background such as an Asian Leopard Cat (average weight 9 pounds) or a Serval (average weight 25 lbs) is considered illegal no matter how many generations they are from the exotic feline ancestor (even though first generation wolf/dog crosses are exempt). (Take note of Federal guidelines: USDA definition states that a cross between any exotic and a domestic is considered domestic. From Title 9 Chapter I [link will open a new window] – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Department of Agriculture, Part 1: Definition of terms: ”Hybrid cross means an animal resulting from the crossbreeding between two different species or types of animals. Crosses between wild animal species, such as lions and tigers, are considered to be wild animals. Crosses between wild animal species and domestic animals, such as dogs and wolves or buffalo and domestic cattle, are considered to be domestic animals.”) Enforcement: Read the text for the Iowa Administrative Code related to enforcement of the “Dangerous Wild Animal” law. Iowa Agriculture and Land Stewardship Dept (IDALS), Chapter 77 For more information regarding the current law, contact the Iowa Dept of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) Animal Industry Bureau: Wallace State Office Building 502 East. 9th St. Des Moines, Iowa 50319 Phone: 515-281-5305 Fax: 515-281-4282 IDALS March 2008 newsletter announcement (link will open PDF file, see page 9)
>> LINK – TIPS FOR CONTACTING LEGISLATORS
>> Join the “Make Bengals and Savannahs legal to own in Iowa” Facebook page if you have questions or new information: https://www.facebook.com/iowacats
Domestic cat breeds with a hybrid background:
Bengal Cats are derived from crossing the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC), a small 8-10 lb exotic feline from SE Asia, with domestic cats. The ALC has a natural immunity to the feline leukemia virus, and in the late 1970s genetic researchers first crossed the ALC and domestics. Most Bengal Cats weigh under 15 lbs. Bengals are eligible to show in all-breed championship cat shows of The International Cat Association, and nearly all other international purebred cat associations. As of the summer of 2007, there were over 60,000 Bengal Cats registered with TICA worldwide. For more information on Bengal Cats, see TICA Bengal breed page The International Bengal Cat Society
Savannahs are derived from crossing the African Serval with domestic cats. Servals are usually around 30 pounds, Savannahs are typically 15-25 lbs, slightly heavier than a large Maine Coon cat. Savannahs are regularly shown in The International Cat Association (TICA) cat shows, and now competing agains all other cat breeds with championship status. TICA Savannah breed page www.savannahbreedsection.org
Chausies are derived from crossing Jungle Cats with domestics. Jungle Cats average 20-25 lbs and are found from NE Africa to SE Asia. Chausies are generally slightly larger than Bengals and smaller than Savannahs. Like Savannahs, they are near eligibility for championship status in TICA. For more information see: TICA Chausie breed page www.chausiebreedcommittee.com (World-renowned feline photographer Helmi Flick with her first generation Chausie “Bushwah”. Photo courtesy Helmi Flick)
Watch a Bengal Cat in action on an agility course at a U.S. cat show!
On the PBS television show “Nature” episode called “Why we love cats and dogs”, a Bengal Cat was featured running an agility course at a cat show. Click HERE to view the video.
Bengals, Savannahs and Chausies have been featured in the international magazine Cat Fancy many times including these issues.