Home Page Home | Search Search | Online Store Store | Donate Donate | RSS Feeds RSS Feeds |  




Georgia State Laws Governing Private Possession of Exotic Animals

View Map
View Map

GA. CODE ANN. §27-5-4 - Wild animal licenses and permits generally.

(a) Unless otherwise provided in Code Section 27-5-5, it shall be unlawful for any person to import, transport, transfer, sell, purchase, or possess any wild animal listed in Code Section 27-5-5 or specified by the board by regulation without first obtaining a wild animal license from the department as provided in Code Section 27-2-23 or a wild animal permit as provided in this Code section; provided, however, anyone holding a deer-farming license is not required to have a wild animal license or permit to possess farmed deer. Unless otherwise specified by the department, such license or permit shall be effective from April 1 through March 31 and may contain such conditions and restrictions, including restrictions as to numbers and species of animals, as the department determines appropriate in light of the provisions of this chapter. An applicant for a wild animal license or permit shall have the burden of proving that any wild animals subject to such license or permit are or will be imported, transported, transferred, sold, purchased, or possessed in compliance with this chapter.

(b) Wild animal licenses will be issued only to persons engaged in the wholesale or retail wild animal business or persons exhibiting wild animals to the public. Wild animal permits will be issued at no cost and only to persons for scientific or educational purposes or to a pond owner for grass carp or grass carp hybrids where the department has determined that the possession of such carp by the pond owner will not constitute a threat to wildlife; provided, however, that no such permit shall be required for persons buying triploid grass carp from properly licensed wild animal dealers authorized to sell grass carp where the bill of sale is retained by the buyer as proof of such sale and where the triploid grass carp are to be stocked only into a private pond; provided, further, that no such license or permit shall be required solely for the transportation of wild animals through this state where the animals remain in this state no more than 24 hours and are not sold or transferred while in this state.

(c) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, transfer, deliver, or surrender a wild animal listed in Code Section 27-5-5 or specified by the board by regulation to any other person unless that other person holds a license or permit issued pursuant to this chapter for such wild animal or is exempt from the requirement for such a permit or license by the provisions of subsection (d) of this Code section.

(d) No wild animal license or permit shall be required for a carrier regulated either by the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Civil Aeronautics Board, or the Public Service Commission to import or transport any wild animal.

(e) Any licenses issued by the department to any person for public exhibition purposes shall be conditioned so that the person operating a wild animal exhibition in a nontraveling, fixed facility shall make the facility open to the public for a time no less than 30 hours per week for at least six months each year; and the person operating a wild animal exhibition in a transient facility shall make the facility open to the public for a reasonable period of time and for reasonable hours of the day, depending upon the nature of the exhibition. The department is authorized to issue such licenses in accordance with this chapter requiring adequate facilities for the humane handling, care, and confinement of wild animals and ensuring public safety. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, exhibitions of wild animals by federal, state, city, county, or municipal governments or their agencies and transient circuses, which circuses can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the department that 10 percent of the proceeds from such exhibitions shall be devoted to charitable purposes in this state, shall not be required to purchase a wild animal license but shall be required to obtain the license, at no charge, from the department; provided, however, all other provisions of this chapter and all regulations relating to the humane handling, care, and confinement of wild animals must be complied with.

(f) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a wild animal license or permit is required for the possession of any wild animal listed in subsection (b) of Code Section 27-5-5 or as required by regulation of the board. Liability insurance is required for the possession of any wild animal that is classified as being inherently dangerous to people in subsection (a) of Code Section 27-5-5 or as required by regulation of the board. Prior to the issuance of a wild animal license or permit for animals classified as being inherently dangerous to people, any applicant other than a governmental agency or university research facility must provide proof of liability insurance from a company licensed to do business in this state or an unauthorized insurer if permitted by Chapter 5 of Title 33.Such insurance must be maintained in force and effect and cover claims for injury or damage to persons or property in an amount equal to $40,000.00 for each inherently dangerous animal up to a maximum of $500,000.00. The insurance company shall notify the department at least 30 days prior to the termination of the policy by the company. Liability insurance is not required for wild animals that are not considered to be inherently dangerous to people.

(g) Any license or permit issued in accordance with this chapter shall be valid only for the species and numbers of wild animals referenced on the application and the license or permit. The license or permit to hold a female wild animal shall cover her progeny only while the progeny are physically dependent upon her or until her progeny are two months of age, whichever period is longer. It shall also be unlawful to transfer any license or permit issued by the department from one person to another person.

(h) It shall be unlawful for any person holding a license or permit issued pursuant to this chapter to import, transport, sell, transfer, or possess any wild animal in facilities not approved by the department as described in Code Section 27-5-6.

(i) In the event that a determination has been made to revoke, suspend, deny, or refuse to renew any license or permit issued pursuant to this chapter, the applicant for the license or permit may appeal the determination according to the provisions stated in Code Section 27-2-25.

(j) It shall be unlawful for any person holding a license or permit pursuant to this chapter to import, purchase, transport, sell, or transfer any wild animal and fail to record in a record book, within 24 hours after the completion of such a transaction, the date, place, manner, and names and addresses of all persons involved in such a transaction. It shall also be unlawful to fail to maintain such records for a period of 12 months or to fail to provide the department access to such records during all regular business hours.

(k) Wild animal licenses shall not be issued unless the following conditions are met:

(1) The applicant must be at least 18 years of age;

(2) Applicants requesting a license for mammals must obtain a license from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture or provide written documentation that the applicant is exempt from such requirements;

(3) Applicants must submit documentation verifying that the proposed construction of facilities and the holding of wild animals is not prohibited by county or municipal ordinances;

(4) The applicant must obtain required business licenses; and

(5) Facilities for holding or exhibiting wild animals must be completely separated from a residence and meet specifications for humane handling, care, and confinement as provided in Code Section 27-5-6.


GA. CODE ANN. §27-5-5 - Wild animals for which license or permit required.

(a) The following animals are considered to be inherently dangerous to human beings and are subject to the license or permit and insurance requirements provided for in subsection (f) of Code Section 27-5-4:

(1) Class Mammalia:

(A) Order Marsupialia: Family Macropodidae: Genus Macropus (Kangaroos) - All species;

(B) Order Primates:

(i) Family Pongidae (gibbons, orang-utan, chimpanzees, siamangs, and gorillas) - All species;

(ii) Family Cercopithecidae:

(I) Genus Macaca (macaques) - All species;

(II) Genus Papio (mandrills, drills, and baboons) - All species;

(III) Theropithecus gelada (Gelada baboon);

(C) Order Carnivora:

(i) Family Canidae:

(I) Genus Canis (wolves, jackals, and dingos); all species; except that any person possessing hybrid crosses between wolves and domestic animals on July 1, 1994, shall have until July 1, 1995, to apply for a fee-exempt permit to possess these animals as pets; provided, however, that the said hybrid is sexually neutered; provided, further, that it shall be unlawful to transfer possession or ownership of said hybrid without prior written approval from the department. Liability insurance shall not be mandatory for wolf hybrids possessed under this fee-exempt permit;

(II) Chrysocyon brachyurus (maned wolf);

(III) Cuon alpinus (red dog);

(IV) Lycaon pictus (African hunting dog);

(ii) Family Ursidae (bears) - All species;

(iii) Family Mustelidae - Gulo gulo (wolverine);

(iv) Family Hyaenidae (hyenas) - All species;

(v) Family Felidae:

(I) Genus Leo or Panthera or Neofelis (lions, tigers, jaguars, and leopards) - All species;

(II) Unica unica (snow leopard);

(III) Acinonyx jubatus (cheetah);

(IV) Felis concolor (cougar) - All subspecies;

(D) Order Proboscidae: Family Elephantidae (elephants) - All species;

(E) Order Perissodactyla: Family Rhinocerotidae (rhinoceroses) - All species;

(F) Order Artiodactyla:

(i) Family Suidae - Phacochoerus aethiopicus (warthog);

(ii) Family Hippopotamidae - Hippopotamus amphibius (hippopotamus);

(iii) Family Bovidae:

(I) Genus Taurotragus (elands) - All species;

(II) Boselaphus tragocamelus (nilgais);

(III) Bos sauveli (kouprey);

(IV) Syncerus caffer (African buffalo);

(V) Hippotragus niger (sable);

(VI) Oryx gazella (gemsbok);

(VII) Addax nasomaculatus (addax);

(VIII) Genus Alcelaphus (hartebeests) - All species;

(IX) Genus Connochaetes (gnu, wildebeest) - All species;

(2) Class Reptilia:

(A) Order Crocodylia:

(i) Family Crocodylidae (crocodiles, gavials, etc.) - All species;

(ii) Family Alligatoridae - (alligators and caimans) - All species;

(B) Order Squamata:

(i) Suborder Serpentes:

(I) Family Elapidae (cobras, coral snakes, etc.) - All species;

(II) Family Viperidae (adders, vipers, etc.) - All species;

(III) Family Colubridae - All poisonous rear-fanged species (Opisthoglypis);

(IV) Family Crotalidae (pit vipers) - All species;

(ii) Suborder Lacertilia: Family Helodermatidae (Gila monsters and beaded lizards) - All species;

(3) Class Osteichthyes:

(A) Order Cypriniformes (Suborder Characoidei): Family Characidae (tetra, piranha): Genera Serrasalmus, Serrasalmo, Pygocentrus, Taddyella, Rooseveltiella, Pygopristis (piranhas) - All species;

(B) Order Siluriformes: Family Trichomycteridae (parasitic catfishes): Genera Vandellia (candiru) and Urinophilus - All species; and

(4) Class Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish): Order Rajiformes: Family Potamotrygonidae (fresh-water stingray) - All species.

(b) Except as provided in this Code section, a license or permit is required for the following wild animals and any others specified by regulation of the board:

(1) Class Mammalia:

(A) Order Marsupialia (opossum, wallabies, etc.) - All species;

(B) Order Insectivora (shrews, moles, etc.) - All species;

(C) Order Dermoptera (flying lemurs) - All species;

(D) Order Chiroptera (bats) - All species;

(E) Order Primates (monkeys, apes, etc.) - All species except Family Hominidae;

(F) Order Edentata (sloths, armadillos, etc.) - All species;

(G) Order Pholidota (pangolins or scaly anteaters) - All species;

(H) Order Lagomorpha (rabbits, hares, etc.) - All species except Genus Oryctolagus; or any other normally domesticated species;

(I) Order Rodentia (rats, mice, etc.) - All speciesexcept Genus Cavia; Genus Gerbillus; Genus Mesocricetus; Mus musculous; Rattus rattus; Rattus norvegicus; or any other normally domesticated species;

(J) Order Cetacea (whales, dolphins, etc.) - All species;

(K) Order Carnivora (weasels, ferrets, cats, bears, wolves, etc.) - All species, except that a European ferret (Mustela putorius furo) may be sold, purchased, exhibited, or held as a pet without a license or permit; provided, however, that the ferret owner can provide valid documentation that the ferret was sexually neutered prior to seven months of age and is vaccinated against rabies with a properly administered vaccine approved for use on ferrets by the United States Department of Agriculture;

(L) Order Tubulidentata (aardvark) - All species;

(M) Order Proboscidea (elephants) - All species;

(N) Order Hyracoidea (conies) - All species;

(O) Order Sirenia (manatees, dugong) - All species;

(P) Order Perissodactyla (odd-toed ungulates) - All species;

(Q) Order Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates) - All species except Bison bison (buffalo) and Llama guanicoe, L. glama, and L. pacos (llamas);

(2) Class Aves:

(A) Order Falconiformes (hawks, eagles, vultures, etc.) - All species except that persons possessing a federal falconry license shall be allowed to possess birds in the Order Falconiformes without obtaining a wild animal license;

(B) Order Galliformes: Family Meleagrididae (turkeys) - All species not normally domesticated;

(C) Order Psittaciformes: Myiopsitta monachus (monk parakeet);

(D) Order Cuculiformes: Family Cuculidae (cuckoos) - All species;

(E) Order Strigiformes (owls) - All species;

(F) Order Passeriformes:

(i) Family Alaudidae (larks): Alauda arvensis (skylarks);

(ii) Family Pycnonotidae (bulbuls) - All species;

(iii) Family Muscicapidae (thrushes, blackbirds, ieldfare, etc.): Genus Turdus - All species;

(iv) Family Zosteropidae (white eyes): Genus Zosterops - All species;

(v) Family Emberizidae (buntings, etc.): Emberiza citrinella (yellow hammer);

(vi) Family Ploceidae (sparrows, weavers, queleas, weaver finches, etc.):

(I) Genus Passer - All species except Passer Domesticus (English house sparrow);

(II) Ploceus capensis (cape weaver);

(III) Ploceus philippinus (Baya weaver);

(IV) Genus Quelea - All species;

(vii) Family Icteridae (blackbirds, grackles, orioles, etc.): Genera Molothrus, Quiscalus, and Agelaius - All species;

(viii) Family Estrildidae (waxbills, ricebirds, munias, weaver finches, etc.): Padda oryzivora (Java sparrow);

(ix) Family Sturnidae (starlings, mynas, etc.) - All species except Sturnus vulgaris (starling) and Gracula religiosa (Hill mynas);

(x) Family Corvidae (crows, ravens, etc.) - All species;

(3) Class Amphibia (Order Anura):

(A) Family Bufonidae (toads): Bufo marinus, Bufo paracnemis, Bufo horribilis (giant or marine toad group);

(4) Class Osteichthyes (bony fish):

(A) Order Cypriniformes (Suborder Characoidei): Family Characidae (tetra, piranha):

(i) Astyanax faciatus (banded tetra);

(ii) Genera Serrasalmus, Serrasalmo, Pygocentrus, addyella, Rooseveltiella, Pygopristis (piranhas) - All species;

(B) Order Cypriniformes (Suborder Cyprinoidei): Family Cyprinidae (carp, grass carp, orfe, etc.):

(i) Ctenopharyngodon idella (grass carp);

(ii) Hypophthalmichthys molitrix (silver carp);

(iii) Aristichthys nobilis (bighead carp);

(C) Order Siluriformes:

(i) Family Clariidae (air-breathing catfishes) - All species;

(ii) Family Trichomycteridae (parasitic catfishes): Genera Vandellia (candiru) and Urinophilus - All species;

(iii) Family Heteropneustidae (giant walking catfishes): Genus Heteropneustes - All species;

(D) Order Perciformes (Suborder Channoidei) Family Channidae (snakeheads): Genera Ophicephalus and Channa - All species;

(5) Class Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish): Order Rajiformes: Family Potamotrygonidae (fresh-water stingray) - All species; and

(6) All exotic fish which are not held in aquaria or tanks, provided that, as used in this Code section, "aquaria or tanks" means containers for holding fish from which no water is discharged, except during periodic cleaning, and which discharged water is passed through a filtering system capable of removing all fish and fish eggs and is disposed of only in a septic tank permitted by the county or in a waste-water treatment system permitted by the Environmental Protection Division of the department. For purposes of this paragraph, exotic fish are all fish species not native to Georgia. This paragraph shall not apply to any species of fish regulated by any other chapter of this title.

(c) Any person who on July 1, 1994, possessed a wild animal for which a license or permit was not required prior to July 1, 1994, shall have until January 1, 1995, to apply for a fee-exempt permit, provided that the requirements of this chapter relating to insurance and humane handling, care, and confinement of wild animals are met. Such permits shall only be valid for wild animals possessed prior to July 1, 1994, and shall not authorize breeding, importation, sale, or transfer without specific authorization from the department.

Also see:

Legislation
Legislation
Legislation