By a vote of 8-3 on Monday night, the Missoula City Council closed the curtain on exotic animal acts within the city limits.

Ward One's Bryan von Lossberg authored the resolution after some constituents brought the subject of animal cruelty to his attention.

"It started with that conversation, and then I did a lot of research into associated issues and how they were being dealt with across the country, and that led to a draft ordinance and the council considering that ordinance," von Lossberg said. "In essence, it prohibits the display of exhibition of wild exotic animals in the city of Missoula, with certain exceptions, such as educational displays."

von Lossberg resisted the idea that the ordinance will bring an end to the annual Shrine Circus fundraiser held in the spring in the Adams Center.

"I disagree with the idea that this ordinance will bring an end to the Shrine Circus or of all circuses, but that they will transition to a wild and exotic animal-free performance as so many circuses have done all over the country," he said.

Ward Five's Annelise Hedahl was one of the three dissenting votes.

"Banning the exotic animal displays in Missoula isn't going to make animal cruelty go away," she said. "At least here in Missoula, I know the animals were well treated at the Shrine Circus. And, I appreciate all the good work the Shriner's Hospitals do for kids, so I hope they'll find a way to continue their performances, perhaps at the fairgrounds."


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