Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal explained that she introduced the legislation to increase safety at travelling circuses and county fairs that allow the public to get up close and personal with their big cats.
But the Upper West Side Democrat acknowledges proudly that the bill would also destroy a trend now prevalent among users of dating apps — men snuggling with tigers in reckless attempts to look brave or cuddly or, even more implausibly, both in their dating-profile photos on online services like Tinder and OKCupid.
“They can still pose with bears and monkeys,” the assemblywoman told the New York Post . “They just have to take big cats off their list.”
The bizarre craze has even inspired a Tumblr blog called “Tinder Guys with Tigers” that collects ridiculous photos of men clutching at the jungle beasties.
Ms Rosenthal says the legislation was needed because there have been seven instances in 15 years in which a tiger escaped or hurt New Yorkers.
The justification fails to mention that there were only two big-cat maulings at travelling shows in the state in the past 10 years.
Illicit tiger touchers would face fines up to $US500 ($532) — even if it’s only a cub.
“I feel bad now,” cracked Ms Rosenthal’s staffer Lauren Schuster. “We’re killing bros’ dreams and chances of being laid!”
Dating-app users defended the use of tiger selfies as an online mating strategy.
“I’d like to think that the women of New York are intelligently discerning and can look beyond one hopefully funny photo,” said a Tinder user named David, 32, who declined to give his last name.
“Hopefully, people will realizs that it doesn’t say anything positive about yourself to pay to pose next to a wild animals in captivity,” said Kelly Donvan, a program officer for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Others say the bill, while well meaning, will be difficult to enforce if New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs it into law.
“Proving where it took place seems almost impossible to regulate, and some people might even do it as an act of defiance, like idiots who pose with drugs on public social networks,” said Brooklyn resident Alana Massey, a copywriter. “I don’t think this is an especially thoughtful crowd that is buying into this industry.”
A spokesman for Governor Cuomo said the bill was under review.