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California State Laws Governing Private Possession of Exotic Animals

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CAL. CODE REGS. Tit. 14 §671 -- Importation, Transportation and Possession of Live Restricted Animals

(a) It shall be unlawful to import, transport, or possess alive animals restricted in subsection (c) below except under permit issued by the Department of Fish and Game. Permits may be issued by the department as specified herein and for purposes designated in Section 671.1 subject to the conditions and restrictions designated by the department. Except for mammals listed in Fish and Game Code Section 3950 Fish & Game or live aquatic animals requiring a permit pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 2271 Fish & Game, no permit is required by this section for any animal being imported, transported, or possessed pursuant to any other permit issued by the department. Cities and counties may also prohibit possession or require a permit for these and other species not requiring a state permit.

(b) The commission has determined the below listed animals are not normally domesticated in this state. Mammals listed to prevent the depletion of wild populations and to provide for animal welfare are termed "welfare animals", and are designated by the letter "W". Those species listed because they pose a threat to native wildlife, the agriculture interests of the state or to public health or safety are termed "detrimental animals" and are designated by the letter "D". The department shall include the list of welfare and detrimental wild animals as part of DFG MANUAL No. 671 (2/25/92) IMPORTATION, TRANSPORTATION AND POSSESSION OF RESTRICTED SPECIES, to be made available to all permittees and other interested individuals.

(c) Restricted species include:

(1) Class Aves - Birds

(A) Family Alaudidae - Larks

Alauda arvensis (Skylark) (D).

(B) Family Cuculidae - Cuckoos

All species (D).

(C) Family Corvidae - Crows, Ravens, Rooks, Jackdaws

All species (D).

(D) Family Turdidae - Thrushes, Blackbirds, Fieldfare

  1. Turdus merula (European blackbird) (D).
  2. Turdus viscivorus (Missel thrush) (D).
  3. Turdus pilaris (Fieldfare) (D).
  4. Turdus musicus (Song thrush) (D).

(E) Family Sturnidae -- Starlings, Mynahs All species (D), except Sturnus vulgaris (Starling), Gracula religiosa or Eulabes religiosa (Hill mynahs), and Leucopsar rothschildi (Rothchild's mynah) are not restricted.

(F) Family Ploceidae - Sparrows, Weavers, Queleas

  1. Genus Passer (Sparrow)
    All species (D), except Passer domesticus (English house sparrow) is not restricted.
  2. Foudia madagascariensis (Madagascar weaver) (D).
  3. Ploceus baya (Baya weaver) (D).
  4. Genus Quelea (Queleas) - All species (D).

(G) Family Estrildidae - Waxbills, Munias, Ricebirds

  1. Padda oryzivora (Java sparrow) (D).

(H) Family Emberizidae - Yellowhammer

Emberiza citrinella (Yellowhammer) (D).

(I) Order Falconiformes - Falcons, Eagles, Hawks, Vultures

  1. Vultures All species (D)
  2. Falcons, Eagles, Hawks (D)

(J) Order Strigiformes - Owls All species (D)

(K) Family Pyconotidae --

Bulbuls or Fruit Thrushes Pycnonotus jocosus

(Red-whiskered bulbul) (D).

(L) Family Zosteropidae - Whiteeyes Genus Zosterops (Whiteeyes) --

All species (D).

(M) Family Psittacidae --

Parrots, Parakeets Myiopsitta monachus (Monk or Quaker parakeet) (D).

(2) Class Mammalia - Mammals

(A) Order Primates - Monkeys, Apes All species (W), except Family Hominidae - not restricted.

(B) Order Edendata - Sloths, Anteaters, Armadillos, etc. All species:

  1. Family Dasypodidae - Armadillos - All Species (D).
  2. Family Bradypodidae - Sloths - (W).
  3. Family Myrmecophagidae - Anteaters - (W).

(C) Order Marsupialia - Marsupials or Pouched Animals All species (W).

(D) Order Insectivora - Shrews, Moles, Hedgehogs, etc. All species (D).

(E) Order Dermoptera - Gliding Lemurs All species (D).

(F) Order Chiroptera - Bats All species (D).

(G) Order Monotremata - Spiny Anteaters, Platypuses All Species (W).

(H) Order Pholidota - Pangolins or Scaly Anteaters All species (W).

(I) Order Lagomorpha - Pikas, Rabbits, and Hares All species, (D), except domesticated races of rabbits and hares of the Family Leporidae - not restricted.

(J) Order Rodentia - Hamsters, Field Mice, Voles, Muskrats, Gerbils, Squirrels, Chipmunks, Woodchucks, and Prairie Dogs

  1. All species (D), except:
  1. Ondatra zibethica (Muskrats) - Not restricted under conditions set forth in Fish and Game Code Section 2250;
  2. Domesticated races of golden hamsters of the species Mesocricetus auratus and domesticated races of dwarf hamsters of the Genus Phodopus not restricted;
  3. Domesticated races of rats or mice (white or albino; trained, dancing or spinning, laboratory-reared) not restricted;
  4. Domesticated races of guinea pigs of the species Cavia porcellus not restricted; and e. Domesticated races of chinchillas of the species Chinchilla laniger not restricted.

(K) Order Carnivora - Raccoons, Ringtailed Cats, Kinkajous, Coatis, Cacomistles, Weasels, Ferrets, Skunks, Polecats, stoats, Mongoose, Civets, Wolves, Foxes, Coyotes, Lions, Tigers, Ocelots, Bobcats, Servals, Leopards, Jaguars, Cheetahs, Bears, etc.

  1. Family Felidae - All species (W) except:
    1. Acinonyx jubatus (cheetahs) - (D).
    2. Domestic cats and hybrids of domestic cats are not restricted.
  2. Family Canidae - All species (W).
    1. Wolf hybrids Canis familiaris (domestic dog) x Canis lupus (wolf).
      1. Any F1 (first) generation wolf hybrid whelped on or before February 4, 1988 may be possessed under permit from the department.
      2. No state permit is required to possess the progeny of F1 generation wolf hybrids, but cities and counties may prohibit possession or require a permit.
    2. Domesticated dogs are not restricted.
  3. Family Viverridae - All species (D).
  4. Family Procyonidae - All species - (D), except:
    1. Ailuris fulgens (Lesser Panda) - (W).
    2. Aiuropoda melanoleuca (Giant panda) - (W).
    3. Bassariscus astutus (Ringtail or Ringtailed cat) - (W).
    4. Jentinkia sumichrasti (Mexican and Central American Cacomistle - (W).
  5. Family Mustelidae - All species (D), except:
    1. Ambloynx cinerea (Oriental small-clawed otter) - (W).
    2. Aonyx capensis (African clawless otter) - (W).
    3. Pteronura brasiliensis (Giant otter) - (W).
    4. All species of Genus Lutra (River otters) - (W).
  6. All others - (W).

(L) Order Tubulidentata - Aardvarks All species - (W).

(M) Order Proboscidae - Elephants All species - (W).

(N) Order Hyracoidae - Hyraxes All species - (W).

(O) Order Sirenia - Dugongs, Manatees All species - (W).

(P) Order Perissodactyla - Horses, Zebras, Tapirs, Rhinoceroses, etc. All species (W), except Family Equidae is not restricted.

(Q) Order Artiodactyl - Swine, Peccaries, Camels, Deer, Elk, Moose, Antelopes, Cattle, Goats, Sheep, etc. All species (D) except:

  1. Bos taurus and Bos indicus (Domestic cattle); Bos grunniens (Yak); Bubalus bulalis (Asian water buffalo); Ovis aries (Domestic sheep); Capra hircus (Domestic goat); Sus scrofa domestica (Domestic swine); Llama glama (Llama); Llama pacos (Alpaca); Llama guanicoe (Guanaco); Hybrids of llama, alpaca and guanacos; Camelus bactrianus and Camelus dromedarius (Camels); and Bison bison (American bison), are not restricted.
  2. Permits may be issued for species of Elk (Genus Cervus) which are already maintained within California; and
  3. Permits may be issued pursuant to Section 676, Title 14, CCR, for importing, breeding, slaughter and sale of the meat and other parts of fallow deer (Dama dama) for commercial purposes.

(3) Class Amphibia - Frogs, Toads, Salamanders

(A) Family Bufonidae - Toads Bufo marinus, Bufo paracnemis, Bufo horribilis (Giant toad or marine toad group) and all other large toads from Mexico and Central and South America (D).

(B) Family Pipidae - Tongueless Toads All species of the Genus Xenopus (D).

(4) Class Agnatha - Jawless Fishes

(A) Family Petromyzontidae - Lampreys All nonnative species (D).

(5) Class Osteichthyes - Bony Fishes

(A) Family Percichthyidae - Temperate Basses

  1. The species Morone americana (White perch) (D).
  2. The species Morone chrysops (White bass) (D).

(B) Family Clupeidae - Herrings Dorosoma cepedianum (Gizzard shad) (D).

(C) Family Sciaenidae - Drums Aplodinotus grunniens (freshwater drum) (D).

(D) Family Characidae - Characins

  1. Astyanax fasciatus (Banded tetra) (D).
  2. All species of the genera Serrasalmus, Serrasalmo, Pygocentrus, Taddyella, Rooseveltiella, and Pygopristis (Piranhas) (D).
  3. Hoplias malabaricus (Tiger fish) (D).

(E) Family Salmonidae - Trouts Salmo salar (Atlantic salmon) - Restricted in the Smith River watershed (D).

(F) Family Lepisosteidae - Gars All species (D).

(G) Family Amiidae - Bowfins All species (D).

(H) Family Poeciliidae - Livebearers Belonesox belizanus (Pike killifish) (D).

(I) Family Channidae - Snakeheads All species (D).

(J) Family Cyprinidae - Carps and Minnows

  1. Leuciscus idus (ide) (D).
  2. Ctenopharyngodon idellus (Grass carp) (D), except that permits may be issued to a person, organization or agency for possession of triploid grass carp, under conditions set forth in Section 238.6.
  3. Hypophthalmichthys molitrix (Silver carp) (D).
  4. Aristichthys nobilis (Bighead carp) (D).

(K) Family Trichomycteridae (Pygidiidae) - Parasitic Catfishes. All species (D).

(L) Family Cetopsidae - Whalelike Catfishes. All species (D).

(M) Family Clariidae - Labyrinth Catfishes All species of the genera Clarias, Dinotopterus, and Heterobranchus (D).

(N) Family Heteropneustidae (Saccobranchidae) - Airsac Catfishes All species (D).

(O) Family Cichlidae - Cichlids

  1. Tilapia sparrmani (Banded Tilapia) (D).
  2. Tilapia zilli (Redbelly tilapia) (D), except permits may be issued to a person or agency for importation, transportation, or possession in the counties of San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial.
  3. Tilapia aurea (Blue tilapia) (D).
  4. Tilapia nilotica (Nile tilapia) (D).

(P) Family Anguillidae - Freshwater Eels. All species of genus Anguilla (D).

(Q) Family Esocidae - Pikes all species (D).

(R) Family Percidae - Perches

  1. Perca flavescens (Yellow perch) (D).
  2. Stizostedion vitreum (Walleye) (D).

(S) Family Catostomidae - Suckers All members of the genus Ictiobus (Buffalos) (D).

(T) Family Cyprinodontidae - Killifishes Cyprinodon variegatus (Sheepshead minnow) (D).

(6) Class Elasmobranchiomorphi - Cartilaginous Fishes

(A) Family Carcharhinidae - Requiem Sharks All species of genus Carcharhinus (Freshwater sharks) (D).

(B) Family Potamotrygonidae - River stingrays All species (D).

(7) Class Reptilia - Reptiles

(A) Order Crocodilia - Crocodiles, Caimans, Alligators and Gavials All species (D).

(B) Family Chelyridae - Snapping Turtles All species (D).

(C) Family Elapidae - Cobras, Coral Snakes, Mambas, Kraits, etc. All species (D).

(D) Family Viperidae - Adders and Vipers All species (D).

(E) Family Crotalidae - Pit Vipers All species (D), except Crotalus viridis (Western rattlesnake), Crotalus atrox (Western diamondback rattlesnake), Crotalus ruber (red diamondback rattlesnake), Crotalus scutulatus (Mojave rattlesnake), Crotalus mitchelli (speckled rattlesnake) and Crotalus cerastes (Sidewinder) not restricted.

(F) Family Colubridae - Colubrids

  1. Dispholidus typus (Boomslang) (D).
  2. Theoltornis kitlandii (Bird or vine snake) (D).

(G) Family Helodermatidae

  1. Heloderma suspectum suspectum (reticulate Gila monster) (D).

(8) Class Crustacea - Crustaceans

(A) All species of Family Cambaridae - Crayfish, etc. (D), except Procambarus clarkii and Orconectes virilis not restricted.

(B) All species of genus Eriocheir (D).

(9) Class Gastropoda - Slugs, Snails All nonnative species of slugs and land snails (D), except:

(A) Rumina decollata (decollate snail) in the counties of San Bernardino, Riverside, Imperial, Orange, San Diego, Los Angeles, Ventura, Kern, Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Santa Barbara not restricted with the concurrence of the appropriate county agricultural commissioners.

(B) Helix aspersa (brown garden snail) not prohibited.

(10) Class Bivalvia - Bivalves All members of the genus Dreissena (zebra mussels) - (D).

NOTE: Authority cited: Sections 2118 and 2120, Fish and Game Code. Reference: Sections 1002, 2116, 2118, 2118.2, 2118.4, 2119-2155, 3005.9 and 3005.92, Fish and Game Code. HISTORY 1. Amendment of subsection (g)(5) filed 2-9-84; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 84, No. 6). For prior history, see Register 81, No. 29. 2. Amendment of subsection (i) filed 7-8-85; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 85, No. 28). 3. Editorial correction of NOTE filed 9-20-85; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 85, No. 38). 4. Notice of Erroneous Filing filed 3-24-86 by OAL; purported amendment of subsection (g)(5) filed in error on 2-5-86 is null and void and text as filed with Secretary of State on 2-9-84 remains in effect uninterrupted (Register 86, No. 13). 5. Amendment of subsection (g)(5) filed 3-24-86; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 86, No. 13). 6. Amendment of subsection (h) filed 11-7-86; effective upon filing (Register 86, No. 45). 7. Amendment of subsection (g)(1) filed 5-1-87; operative 5-31-87 (Register 87, No. 19). 8. New subsection (e)(15) filed 2-16-88; operative 3-17-88 (Register 88, No. 9). 9. Amendment of subsection (b) filed 9-8-88; operative 10-8-88 (Register 88, No. 38). 10. Amendment filed 2-26-92; operative 2-26-92 pursuant to Government Code section 11346.2(d) (Register 92, No. 13). 11. Amendment filed 7-21-93; operative 7-21-93 pursuant to section 202, Fish and Game Code (Register 93, No. 30). 12. Amendment of subsection (c)(9)(A) filed 2-28-94; operative 3-30-94 (Register 94, No. 9). 13. New subsection (c)(10) filed 3-7-94; operative 4-6-94 (Register 94, No. 10). 14. Amendment of subsection (c)(1)(I)2 filed 8-23-94; operative 9-22-94 (Register 94, No. 34). 15. Editorial correction of designation of subsection (c)(5)(G) (Register 94, No. 34). 16. Amendment of subsections (c)(2)(Q)2-3 filed 12-7-94; operative 12-7-94 pursuant to Government Code section 11346.2(d) (Register 94, No. 49). 17. Change without regulatory effect amending subsection (c)(1)(C) filed 9-28-95 pursuant to section 1:100, title 1, California Code of Regulations (Register 95, No. 39). 18. Amendment of subsection (c)(5)(J)2. filed 5-5-97; operative 6-4-97 (Register 97, No. 19). 19. Amendment of section heading and section filed 8-27-98; operative 9-26-98 (Register 98, No. 35).


CAL. CODE REGS. Tit. 14 §671.1 - Permits for Restricted Species.

(a) General. It is unlawful for any person to import, export, transport, maintain, dispose of, or use for any purpose any animal restricted by Section 671 except as authorized in a permit issued by the department.

(1) Limited Scope. A permit issued pursuant to this Section 671.1 does not supersede any Federal, State, or local law regulating or prohibiting the mammals or the activities authorized in the permit.

(2) Inspections. The department may approve an application prior to facilities being inspected and approved. A permit shall not be issued unless the applicant's facilities have been inspected and approved by the department or persons designated by the department.

The department may enter any facility at a reasonable hour, where restricted species are kept or may be kept to inspect animals, facilities, animal equipment, or to inspect, audit, or copy any permit, book or record required to be kept by these regulations or federal regulations relating to such species.

(3) Change of Address or Name. The permittee must notify the Department's License and Revenue Division, 3211 S Street, Sacramento, California 95816, in writing of any change of address or name related to the permit within fourteen (14) days of the change.

(4) Records. Any record, log, invoice, or other document required by this Section 671.1 shall be maintained by the permittee for at least three years from the date issued, and be made available to the department immediately upon demand.

(5) Transportation Records Required of Broker/Dealer. The permittee shall prepare and sign an invoice in duplicate prior to any animals leaving their facility. The invoice shall contain the name and address of the Broker/Dealer, a phone number where the Broker/Dealer and the consignee can be reached 24 hours, the name and address of the consignee, the date of the shipment, and the number and scientific name of each animal. The invoice shall accompany the animals being shipped. The consignee shall sign and date the invoice receipt of the shipment and retain a copy.

(6) Permits for Business. A person (as defined in Fish and Game Code Section 67) other than a natural person can qualify for and be issued a permit, only by employing at least one full time employee who possesses the requirements for obtaining a permit. The permittee must continue to employ such qualified persons as long as the animals are possessed in California.

(7) Financial Responsibility. The department may require an applicant for a nonresident permit to provide proof he/she will immediately cover all expenses incurred by the department for personnel, equipment, and facilities used to locate, capture, house, care for, and transport animals that escape or that are released or abandoned. The written proof must be in the form of an insurance bond or other financial guarantee payable to the department, local government agency, or entity contracting for the animals.

(8) Health Certificates. The department may require as a condition on any permit that restricted animals be approved for interstate shipment pursuant to applicable federal or state agency standards for diseases such as but not limited to tuberculosis, brucellosis, and pseudo rabies. Permit conditions may be more restrictive than federal standards.

(b) Permits and Fees. The following fees will be adjusted annually pursuant to Section 699, Title 14, CCR. The department may issue permits with the conditions it determines are necessary to protect native wildlife, agriculture interests, animal welfare, and/or human health and safety to:

(1) Animal Care. A person who is a resident and who has the demonstrated experience and ability to house an animal, and who legally possessed the animal in California prior to January 1992. The permittee may only possess and provide care for the animal(s) specifically listed on their department approved permit inventory. No other activity is authorized except that which is medically necessary for the care of the animal. The base permit fees for this activity in 1998 are $34.75 for Welfare species and $289.50 for Detrimental species.

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