14-422. Criminal penalties and civil remedies for violation.

(a) Any person violating any of the provisions of this Article shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

(b) If any person, other than the owner of a venomous reptile, large constricting snake, or crocodilian, the owner's agent, employee, or a member of the owner's immediate family, suffers a life threatening injury or is killed as the result of a violation of this Article, the owner of the reptile shall be guilty of a Class A1 misdemeanor. This subsection shall not apply to violations that result from incidents that could not have been prevented or avoided by the owner's exercise of due care or foresight, such as natural disasters or other acts of God, or in the case of thefts of the reptile from the owner.

(c) Any person intentionally releasing into the wild a nonnative venomous reptile, a large constricting snake, or a crocodilian shall be guilty of a Class A1 misdemeanor.

(d) Violations of this Article as set forth in subsections (b) or (c) of this section shall constitute wanton conduct within the meaning of G.S. 1D-5(7) and subject the violator to punitive damages in any civil action that may be filed as a result of the violator's actions. (1949, c. 1084, s. 7; 1969, c. 1224, s. 3; 1993, c. 539, s. 289; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2009-344, s. 1.)