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North Dakota State Laws Governing Private Possession of Exotic Animals

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N.D. ADMIN. CODE §48-12-01-02 - Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter:

1. "Board" means the North Dakota board of animal health.

2. "Domestic animal" means dog, cat, horse, bovine animal, sheep, goat, bison, llama, alpaca, or swine.

3. "Herd" means all animals commingled with other animals of the same species owned by the same person, which are confined to specific premises.

4. "Hybrid" means an animal produced by crossing species or subspecies.

5. "License" means a document obtained from the board for the raising or propagation of a species in North Dakota.

6. "Nontraditional livestock" means any wildlife held in a cage, fence, enclosure, or other manmade means of confinement that limits its movement within definite boundaries, or an animal that is physically altered to limit movement and facilitate capture.

Category 1: Those animals that are similar to but have not been included as domestic species, including turkeys, geese, ducks (morphologically distinguishable from wild turkeys, geese, ducks), pigeons, and mules or donkeys. (These animals are subject to the rules of domestic animals.)
Category 2: Those species that have been domesticated, including ostrich, emu, chinchilla, guinea fowl, ferret, ranch foxes, ranch mink, peafowl, all pheasants not in category 3, quail, chukar, and Russian lynx. Category 2 species imported must meet the health requirements as set forth in this chapter.
Category 3: Those species that are indistinguishable from wild, indigenous species or present a health risk to wild and domestic species, or both, including elk, deer (except those listed under subdivisions a and b of subsection 3 of section 48-12-01-03), reindeer, bighorn sheep, fallow deer, ring-necked pheasant, Bohemian pheasant, sichuan pheasant, Canadian lynx, bobcat, and raptor.
Category 4: Those species that are considered inherently or environmentally dangerous, including bears, wolves, wolf hybrids, primates, lions, tigers, and cats (not listed previously).
Category 5: Those species that are not categorized in categories 1 through 4 require a special license, the requirements of which will be established by the board.

7. "Permit" means a document obtained from the board for the importation of animals into North Dakota.

8. "Person" means any individual, partnership, firm, joint stock company, corporation, association, trust, estate, or other legal entity.

9. "Possess" means to own, control, restrain, transport, or keep in captivity.

10. "Zoo" means an organization with a class C exhibitor's permit, which follows United States department of agriculture (USDA) regulations and are inspected by USDA/APHIS.


N.D. ADMIN. CODE §48-12-01-03 - Permit and license requirements.

All nontraditional livestock premises must be licensed and comply with the administrative rules of the board and applicable statutes. Licenses are not required for categories 1 and 2. An owner of category 2 species must comply with all health requirements as set forth in subdivisions e and f of subsection 1.

1. Category 3, 4, or 5 nontraditional livestock may be imported into North Dakota only after the owner obtains all of the following:

  1. An importation permit from the board.

  2. A North Dakota nontraditional livestock license from the board which is valid for the species to be imported or possessed. The license fee is five dollars for each game bird species and ten dollars for all other species. The maximum annual fee for a person holding more than one bird species license is twenty-five dollars. The maximum annual fee for a person holding more than one nonbird species license is seventy-five dollars.

  3. Genetic testing for purity is required for all elk or elk hybrids prior to entry into zone 1 or 2, as those zones are described in subdivision c of subsection 7. Only genetically pure elk will be allowed in zone 1 or 2.

  4. An animal may not be imported, without approval from the board, if the animal originated in a herd that has been quarantined for a reportable disease.

  5. An examination by an accredited veterinarian accompanied by an approved certificate of veterinary inspection. Minimum specific disease test results and health statements that must be included on a certificate of veterinary inspection include:

(1) Animals in the shipment must be tested for any diseases prescribed by the board.

(a) Tuberculosis.

[1] Cervidae - all animals in the shipment must be tested negative within thirty to ninety days and the entire herd of origin within twelve months using the single strength cervical test, or if originating from an accredited free herd, only the animals in the shipment must be tested, or follow uniform method and rules and guidelines for the control of tuberculosis in cervidae as published by USDA/APHIS.

[2] Other species - use recognized approved testing protocol.

(b) Brucellosis.

[1] Cervidae - all animals in the shipment must be tested negative by two official brucellosis tests within thirty days, one of which must be the complement fixation test or follow uniform method and rules in control of brucellosis in cervidae as published by USDA/APHIS.

[2] Other species - use recognized industry testing protocol.

(c) Pseudorabies. Serologic testing methodology must be conducted in accordance with board pseudorabies standards within thirty days prior to entry for the following category, except for suckling piglets accompanying a negative sow:

Suidae: Wild suidae (See also subdivisions c and d of subsection 3.)

(d) Equine infectious anemia. Serologic testing must be conducted in accordance with state equine infectious anemia protocol within twelve months prior to entry for the following category of equidae, except suckling foals accompanying a negative dam:

Equidae: All wild equidae

(e) Rabies. Any native mammal of the order carnivora that has been taken from the wild may not enter the state if a diagnosis of rabies has been made in the past twelve months in the same species in the state of origin.

(f) Johne's disease. The following statement signed by an accredited veterinarian in the state or province of origin: "To the best of my knowledge, animals listed herein are not infected with paratuberculosis (Johne's disease) and have not been exposed to animals infected with paratuberculosis. To the best of my knowledge, the premises of origin have not been the site of a significant disease outbreak in the previous twenty-four months that was not contained and extirpated using recommended disease control".

(g) Diseases of birds.

[1] Pullorum and fowl typhoid.

[a] Captive wild birds as defined in this paragraph, unless going directly to slaughter, must originate from a producer who is participating in the pullorum-fowl typhoid control phase of the national poultry improvement plan (NPIP) plan or the birds must be tested serologically negative for pullorum and fowl typhoid within the past thirty days. In the case of eggs and hatchling birds, the breeder flock must be a national poultry improvement plan participant or must have been tested negative in the past thirty days. Serum testing or national poultry improvement plan active status are required for birds of the order galliformes including prairie chicken (tympanuchus cupido), quail, pheasants (phasianus colchicus), chukar (alectoris chukar), gray (Hungarian) partridge (perdix perdix), and wild turkey (meleagris gallopavo).

[b] In lieu of pullorum and fowl typhoid testing of other birds, the following statement can be placed on the health certificate: "To my knowledge, birds listed herein are not infected with pullorum or fowl typhoid and have not been exposed to birds infected with pullorum or fowl typhoid during the past twelve months". This statement shall be signed by the owner or the owner's representative.

[2] Avian tuberculosis (mycobacterium avium). The certificate of veterinary inspection must read: "To my knowledge, birds listed herein are not infected with avian tuberculosis and have not been exposed to birds infected with avian tuberculosis during the last twelve months". This requirement applies to all birds, including ratites.

[3] Duck plague (duck virus enteritis, D.V.E.) and avian cholera. The statement, "To my knowledge, birds listed herein are not infected with duck plague or avian cholera and have not been exposed to birds known to be infected with duck plague or avian cholera within the past one hundred eighty days", must be written on the health certificate of all anseriformes entering the state. The statement shall be signed by the owner or the owner's representative. This statement applies to waterfowl (anseriformes).

[4] Exotic Newcastle disease (viscerotropic, velogenic viruses) psittacosis.

[a] The statement, "To my knowledge, birds listed herein are not infected with exotic Newcastle disease or psittacosis and have not been exposed to birds known to be infected with exotic Newcastle disease or psittacosis within the past thirty days", must be written on the health certificate of all psittacine birds entering the state. The statement shall be signed by the owner or the owner's representative. This statement applies to all psittacine birds.

[b] While in transit or while being offered for sale by a person holding a nontraditional livestock license and nontraditional livestock auction license, the following birds which have been associated with introductions of exotic Newcastle disease should be identified with a numbered leg band or other approved method of identification: yellow naped Amazon parrot (Amazona ochrocephala auropalliata), Mexican double yellow head parrot (Amazona ochrocephala oratrix), Mexican red head parrot (Amazona viridigenalis), spectacled Amazon parrot (Amazona albifrons), yellow cheeked Amazon parrot (Amazon autumnalis), green conure (aratinga holochlora, A. strenua, A. leucophthalmus), military machaw (ara militaris), lilac crowned Amazon parrot, (Amazona finschi).

[5] Mycoplasmosis. All wild turkeys of the species meleagris gallopavo, unless going directly to slaughter, must originate from a producer who is participating in the mycoplasmosis control phase of the national poultry improvement plan or the birds must have been tested serologically negative for mycoplasma gallisepticum and M. synoviae within the past thirty days. In the case of eggs and hatchling birds, the breeder flock must be a national poultry improvement plan participant or must have been tested negative in the past thirty days.

  1. Additional disease testing may be required from the board prior to importation or sale if there is reason to believe other diseases, parasites, or other health risks are present.

2. It is a violation of this rule to release or abandon any nontraditional livestock without prior written authorization from the board. Game bird releases must be stipulated in the license application.

3. The board finds that the following species, hybrids, or viable gametes (ova or semen) are detrimental to existing animals and their habitat through parasites, disease, habitat degradation, or competition. Possession of the following species, hybrids, or viable gametes is restricted to a special license (applies to category 5).

  1. In the family bovidae, subfamily caprinae: chamois (rupicapra), tahr (hemitragus), goats. ibexes (capra), except domestic goat (capra hircus), barbary sheep or aoudad (ammotragus), mouflon species (ovis musimon), subfamily hippotraginae: oryx and gemsbok (oryx), addax (addax), subfamily redinunae: reed bucks (redunca), subfamily alcelaphinae: wildebeests (connochaetes), hartebeests (alcelaphus), sassabees, blesbok, bontebok, topi (damaliscus), subfamily water buffalo (bubalus).

  2. In the family cervidae, all of the following species and hybrids: moose (alces alces), axis deer (axis axis), rusa deer (cervus timorensis), sambar deer (cervus unicolor), sika deer (cervus nippon), roe deer (capreolus capreolus and capreolus pygarus), red deer (cervus elaphus).

  3. All wild species of the family suidae (Russian boar, European boar) and hybrids.

  4. In the family tayassuidae: the collared peccary or javelina (tayassu tajacu) and hybrids.

4. A special license application will be reviewed by the nontraditional livestock advisory council. The advisory council shall recommend action to be taken by the board.

5. These special license species may not be released, imported, transported, sold, bartered, or traded within the state except as authorized. The special license animals may be transported out of the state in compliance with the nontraditional livestock rules of the receiving state and federal laws.

6. Persons with proof of possession prior to the effective date of these rules may possess special license species.

7. The following nontraditional livestock are "restricted species", on the basis of specific animal health risks that they pose to wildlife and domestic livestock: white-tailed deer (odocoileus virginianus) and reindeer (caribou) (rangifer sp.), red deer and red deer hybrid.

  1. Importation of white-tailed deer into North Dakota is allowed only for nontraditional livestock farms having a valid license. The only white-tailed deer that may be permitted entry or transported west of the one hundredth meridian are those originating from states west of the one hundredth meridian where meningeal worm has not been reported. This also applies to intrastate movement.

  2. Importation of reindeer (rangifer sp.) into North Dakota is prohibited except under the following conditions:

(1) All animals in shipment must be tested negative to four brucellosis serological tests.

(2) All animals in the shipment must originate in a herd located south of the border of Canada and the United States which is certified brucellosis (B. suis and B. abortus) and tuberculosis free as determined by whole herd testing.

(3) Animals must have never been exposed to tuberculosis positive animals.

  1. The importation or intrastate movement of red deer and red deer and elk hybrids requires a special license. A license will not be issued for premises in zone 1 or 2. Zone 1 is that area bordered by a line that begins at the junction of the Montana border and Missouri River, runs east along the Missouri River to highway 49, south to highway 21, west to highway 22, to the Slope-Bowman County line, and west to Montana. Zone 2 is that area bordered by a line that begins at the Minnesota state line on highway 2, runs west to Towner and north along the Souris River to the Canadian border.

8. Reclassification of any species listed as restricted is contingent upon compelling scientific information indicating that risks posed by these species to native wildlife populations and domestic livestock can be eliminated or managed effectively through application of new diagnostic or management technologies.

9. Any diseased, prohibited, or restricted animal determined by the board to pose a significant threat to the state's wildlife resources, domestic animals, or human health must be held in quarantine at the owner's expense until disposition is determined. Possession or transfer of such animals is prohibited if contrary to the determination of the board.

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