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Montana State Laws Governing Private Possession of Exotic Animals

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MONT. CODE ANN. 87-4-801 - Definitions.

As used in this part unless the context requires otherwise, the following definitions apply:

(1) "Roadside menagerie" means any place where one or more wild animals, including birds, reptiles, and the like, are kept in captivity for the evident purpose of exhibition or attracting trade, on or off the facility premises. It does not include the exhibition of any animal by an educational institution or by a traveling theatrical exhibition or circus based outside of Montana.

(2) "Wild animal" means an animal that is wild by nature as distinguished from the common domestic animals, whether the animal was bred or reared in captivity, and includes birds and reptiles.

(3) "Wild animal menagerie" means any place where one or more bears or large cats, including cougars, lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, pumas, cheetahs, ocelots, and hybrids of those large cats are kept in captivity for use other than public exhibition.

(4) "Zoo" means any zoological garden chartered as a nonprofit corporation by the state or any facility participating in the American zoo and aquarium association accreditation program for the purpose of exhibiting wild animals for public viewing.


MONT. CODE ANN. 87-4-803 - Permits.

(1) The department may grant permits for roadside menageries, wild animal menageries, and zoos. It is unlawful for any person to operate a roadside menagerie or wild animal menagerie without a permit. Application for a permit must be made to the director on a form prescribed by the director. The annual permit fee for five or less animals is $10. The annual permit fee for more than five animals is $25. Permits expire on December 31 but may be renewed upon payment of the annual fee and submission of a renewal application. This section does not apply to the United States, the state of Montana, or any county or city. A person who subscribes to any false statement in application for a permit is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be denied a permit.

(2) (a) A permit application for a roadside menagerie must include:

(i) the applicant's name and address;

(ii) the exact location of the facility;

(iii) a list of species and the number of animals to be held in the facility;

(iv) the type of facility contemplated, including cage specifications;

(v) a copy of all required federal permits for exhibition of wild animals; and

(vi) a copy of a liability insurance policy to cover bodily injury or property damage.

(b) A permit application for a wild animal menagerie must include:

(i) the applicant's name and address;

(ii) the exact location of the facility, together with the nature of the applicant's title to the land, whether in fee, under lease, by contract for deed, or otherwise;

(iii) a list of species and the number of animals to be held in the facility;

(iv) the type of facility contemplated, including cage specifications; and

(v) information demonstrating that the applicant is responsible.

(c) A permit application for a zoo must include:

(i) the applicant's name and address;

(ii) the exact location of the facility;

(iii) a copy of the nonprofit corporation documents approved by the secretary of state's office;

(iv) a copy of the required federal permits for exhibition of wild animals; and

(v) if applicable, a copy of the American zoo and aquarium association accreditation program specific to the facility.

(3) Renewal applications for roadside menageries and wild animal menageries must include an accounting of all wild animals on the facility.

(4) A permit may not be granted by the department until it has satisfactorily verified that the provisions for housing and caring for the animals and for protecting the public are proper and adequate and in accordance with the standards established by the department.

(5) A permit is not transferable to another person.


MONT. CODE ANN. 87-4-804 - Permit to obtain wild animals

(1) It is unlawful to obtain wild animals for a roadside menagerie, wild animal menagerie, or zoo by capture from the wild or by purchase except as authorized by the department in accordance with the terms of a permit.

(2) Application for a capture permit may be made only by a zoo and must be made to the director on a form prescribed by the director. After investigation by the department, the director may issue a capture permit without charge if the director finds:

(a) that all provisions of this part and of the department regulations are complied with by the applicant; and

(b) that the number and species of wildlife desired is not excessive under the circumstances.

(3) If wild animals are to be obtained by capture for use in zoos, the permit must designate the number and the means of capture, but ownership of the wild animals captured shall remain in the state of Montana.

(4) Roadside menageries, wild animal menageries, and zoos may obtain captive-bred wild animals from a licensed zoo, menagerie, alternative livestock ranch, fur farm, game bird farm, or animal rehabilitation center.

(5) Wild animals may be bought, sold, or transferred under regulations that the department prescribes.

(6) The number of wild animals in a wild animal menagerie may not exceed 10.


MONT. ADMIN. R. §32.3.202 - Papers Required For Importation

(1) Unless otherwise specifically provided in this rule all animals and poultry transported or moved into the state of Montana must be accompanied by an official health certificate or a permit, or both, which must be attached to the waybill or be in the possession of the driver of the vehicle or person in charge of the animals. When a single health certificate or permit is issued for animals being moved in more than one vehicle the driver of each vehicle shall have in his possession a copy of the health certificate or permit.

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