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Summary of State Laws Relating to Private Possession of Exotic Animals

Note: The animals listed within the below regulations are not a complete list of the animals regulated by the various states. The listed animals are merely a sampling from each state.

Legend:

B = Ban on private ownership of exotic animals — non-domesticated felines, wolves, bears, reptiles, non-human primates

B* = Partial ban on private ownership of exotic animals — allows ownership of some exotic animals but precludes ownership of the animals listed

L = Requires the "owner" of the exotic animal to obtain a license or permit or to register the animal with state or local authorities to privately possess the animal (excludes states only requiring import permits)

N = The state does not require the "owner" to obtain a license or permit to possess the animal within the state, but may regulate some aspect thereof (i.e. entry permit, veterinary certificate, etc.)

Alabama

Category: N

Summary of Law: No person, firm, corporation, partnership or association may possess, sell, offer for sale, import or cause to be brought or imported into the state the following fish or animals: fish from the genus Clarias; fish from the genus Serrasalmus; Black carp; any species of mongoose, any member of the family Cervidae (deer, elk, moose, caribou), species of coyote, fox, raccoon, skunk, wild rodents or wild turkey. However, there are no requirements for a person possessing exotic animals, such as lions, tigers, monkeys, etc.

Citation: ALA. ADMIN CODE r. 220-2-.26

Alaska

Category: B

Summary of Law: No person may possess, import, release, export, or assist in importing, releasing, or exporting, live game animals as "pets." Live game animals are defined as any species of bird, reptile, and mammal, including a feral domestic animal, found or introduced in the state, except domestic birds and mammals. The Department interprets live game to include all animals, including exotics, such as wild felines, wolves, bears, monkeys, etc., not listed as domestic under Alaska Admin. Code tit. 5. §92.029. No person may possess, transport, sell, advertise or otherwise offer for sale, purchase or offer to purchase a wolf hybrid possessed after Jan. 23, 2002.

Citation: ALASKA ADMIN. CODE tit. 5. §92.029-030; ALASKA STAT. §16.05.940

Arizona

Category: L

Summary of Law: Persons possessing restricted wildlife must obtain a wildlife holding permit to lawfully possess the animal. The Department issues wildlife holding permits to: (1) individuals who legally possess restricted live wildlife and are moving into the state, (2) for educational display, (3) or advancement of science, and (4) to foster an animal unable to return to the wild. Persons already residing in Arizona are not permitted to possess restricted live wildlife as "pets" unless they qualify for a permit. Restricted live wildlife includes, but is not limited to the following species: all species of Carnivora (canines, felines, excluding domestic); orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, alligators, crocodiles, cobras, vipers, etc. However, you can possess all other non-infant primates as "pets" if the animal is free from any zoonotic diseases.

Citation: ARIZ. COMP. ADMIN R. & REGS. R12-4-406; R12-4-409; R12-4-417; R12-4-425; R12-4-426

Arkansas

Category: B*

Summary of Law: It is unlawful to own or possess a large carnivore for personal possession. A large carnivore is defined as a lion, tiger or bear. It is unlawful to possess 6 or more bobcat, coyote, deer, gray fox, red fox, opossum, quail, rabbit, raccoon and squirrel. If a person wishes to possess other animals not originally from the state and not listed above then the person must show upon request verification that the animal was legally acquired in the previous state.

Citation: ARK. CODE ANN. §20-19-501-§20-19-511 & GFC 18.17

California

Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for persons to possess wild animals unless the animal was in possession prior to January 1992. Wild animals include, but are not limited to the following orders: Primates; Marsupialia; Insectivora (shrews); Chiroptera (bats); Carnivora (non-domestic dog and cats); Proboscidea (elephants); Perissodactyla (zebras, horses, rhinos); Reptilia (crocodiles, cobras, coral snakes, pit vipers, snapping turtles, alligators); etc.

Citation: CAL. CODE REGS. Tit. 14, §671 and §671.1

Colorado

Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for persons to possess most exotic species unless it is for commercial purposes. Persons may, however, possess up to 6 live native reptiles, and unregulated wildlife. Unregulated wildlife includes but is not limited to: sugar gliders, wallabies, wallaroos, kangaroos, etc.

Citation: 2 COLO. CODE REGS. §406-8

Connecticut

Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for persons to possess potentially dangerous animals. Potentially dangerous animals include: the Felidae family; the Canidae family; the Ursidae family; and Great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans).

Citation: CONN. GEN. STAT. §26-40a and §26-55

Delaware

Category: L

Summary of Law: All persons must obtain a permit before they can possess a live wild mammal or hybrid of a wild animal. It is illegal to possess, sell, or exhibit any poisonous snake not native to or generally found in Delaware.

Citation: DEL. CODE ANN tit. 3, §7201, §7202, and §7203

Florida

Category: B* & L

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for a person to possess any Class I Wildlife unless the animal was in possession prior to August 1, 1980. Class I Wildlife includes, but is not limited to the following: chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, baboons, leopards, jaguars, tigers, lions, bears, elephants, crocodiles, etc. Persons may possess Class II Wildlife if he or she obtains a permit from the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Class II Wildlife includes, but is not limited to the following: howler and guereza monkeys, macaques, cougars, bobcats, cheetahs, ocelots, servals, coyotes, wolves, hyenas, alligators, etc. All other wildlife in personal possession not defined as Class I or II Wildlife must obtain a no-cost permit. In addition, FL has promulgated regulations governing possession of Class II and III animals (caging requirements, etc.). In 2010, Florida passed state regulations prohibiting importation, sale, use and release of non-native species. The regulations include a ban on capturing, keeping, possessing, transporting or exhibiting venomous reptiles or reptiles of concern (listed python species, Green Anaconda, Nile monitor and other reptiles designated by the commission as a conditional or prohibited species.) Persons who hold pre-July 1, 2010, permits for these species may legally possess the species for the remainder of the reptile's life. Traveling wildlife exhibitors who are licensed or registered under the United States Animal Welfare Act and licensed zoos are exempted.

Citation: FLA. ADMIN. CODE ANN. r. §68A-6.002, §68A-6.0021, and §68A-6.0022. FL ST. §379.231-2 (nonnative animals.)

Georgia

Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for persons to possess inherently dangerous animals as "pets." Inherently dangerous animals include, but are not limited to the following orders: Marsupialia (kangaroos); Primates (chimpanzees, gorillas, macaques); Carnivora (canines, felines); Proboscidae (elephants); Crocodylia (crocodiles, alligators, cobras, all poisonous rear-fanged species). Only persons engaged in the wholesale or retail wild animal business or persons exhibiting wild animals to the public will be issued a license to possess inherently dangerous animals.

Citation: GA. CODE ANN. §27-5-4 and §27-5-5

Hawaii

Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for persons to introduce exotic animals for private use into Hawaii. Exotic animals include, but are not limited to: Felidae family (lion, leopard, cheetah,); the Canidae family (wolf and coyote); and the Ursidae family (black bear, grizzly bear, and brown bear), etc.

Citation: HAW. ADMIN. RULES §4-71-5, §4-71-6, §4-71-6.1, and §4-71-6.5

Idaho

Category: N

Summary of Law: All species of mammals, birds, or reptiles that are found in the wild and are not species of special concern may be held in captivity without a permit so long as the possessor retains proof that the animal was lawfully obtained. In addition, before bringing an animal into the state an owner must obtain an import permit and comply with specific caging requirements for the animal.

Citation: IDAHO CODE §36-701

Illinois

Category: B*

Summary of Law: No person may harbor, care for, act as a custodian, or maintain in his possession any dangerous animal or primate except at a properly maintained zoological park, federally licensed exhibit, circus, scientific institution, research laboratory, veterinary hospital or animal refuge. "Dangerous animal" means a lion, tiger, leopard, ocelot, jaguar, cheetah, margay, mountain lion, lynx, bobcat, jaguarundi, bear, hyena, wolf, coyote, or any poisonous life-threatening reptile. Persons who had lawful possession of a primate before Jan. 1, 2011, from continuing to possess that primate if the person registers the animal by providing written notification to the local animal control administrator on or before April 1, 2011. There are no state requirements for a person possessing other exotic species not defined as "dangerous animals."

Citation: ILL. REV STAT, ch. 720, para. 585/0.1, 585/1, 585/2, and 585/3

Indiana

Category: L

Summary of Law: All persons who possess certain wild animals must obtain a permit for each animal they possess. A wild animal possession permit is required for Class I animals (eastern cottontail rabbit, gray squirrel, fox squirrel, southern flying squirrel) Class II animals (beaver, coyote, gray fox, red fox, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, skunk, weasel) and Class III animals: wolves (purebred), bears, wild cats (excluding feral cats), venomous reptiles and crocodilians (at least 5 feet long).

Citation: IND. CODE ANN. §14-22-26-1-§14-22-26-6 and here

Iowa

Category: B

Summary of Law: A person shall not own, possess or breed a dangerous wild animal. A dangerous wild animal is defined as any member of the following families, orders or species: canidae (excluding a domestic dog), hyaenidae, felidae (excluding a domestic cat), ursidae, perissodactyla, proboscidea, order primates, crocodilia, and water monitors, crocodile monitors, beaded lizards, gila monsters, designated species of venomous snakes, reticulated pythons, anacondas, and African rock pythons.

Citation: IOWA CODE ANN §717F.1-.13

Kansas

Category: B*

Summary of Law: No person may possess or breed a dangerous regulated animal as a "pet." Dangerous regulated animals include the following: lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar, cheetah, mountain lion, hybrid of a large cat, bear, or venomous snake. Persons who are licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture and hold an Animal Welfare Act license are exempt as well as zoos accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, a wildlife sanctuary, research facility, etc.

Citation: KAN. STAT. ANN §32-1301-32-1312

Kentucky

Category: B

Summary of Law: No person may possess inherently dangerous exotic animals. Inherently dangerous exotic animals include, but are not limited to, tigers, lions, non-human primates, dangerous reptiles, bears, etc. If you possessed an inherently dangerous exotic animal prior to July 2005 you may keep your animal, but can not possess any new animal or breed your current animals.

Citation: 301 KY. ADMIN. REGS. 2:082

Louisiana

Category: B*

Summary of Law: No person may possess bears, cougars, or non-human primates as "pets." If you possessed one of these animals prior to the passage of the regulation you are grandfathered in. No person may possess venomous or large constricting snakes (defined as more than 12 feet long) without first obtaining a permit.

Citation: LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 76, §115

Maine

Category: L

Summary of Law: A person may possess a wild animal after obtaining a permit.

Citation: ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 12 § 7235-A

Maryland

Category: B

Summary of Law: No person may possess or breed the following species of animals as a "pet": foxes, skunks, raccoons, all species of bears, alligators, crocodiles, all species of wild cats, wolves, nonhuman primates, various venomous reptiles, etc. Persons possessing one of the listed animals prior to May 31, 2006 may continue to keep the animal as long as the person provides written notification to the local animal control authority on or before August 1, 2006 of said possession.

Citation: MD. CODE ANN., CRIMINAL LAW § 10-621

Massachusetts

Category: B

Summary of Law: No person may possess as a "pet" a wild bird, mammal, fish, reptile or amphibian unless the animal was owned prior to June 30, 1995. A wild bird, mammal, fish, reptile or amphibian is defined as any undomesticated animal that is not the product of hybridization with a domestic form and not otherwise contained in the exemption list.

Citation: MASS. REGS. CODE tit. 321, §2.12 and §9.01; and MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 131, §77A

Michigan

Category: B* & N

Summary of Law: No person may possess as a "pet" any member of the Felidae family (large cats), including their hybrids, any bear species, and any wolf-hybrid unless the animal was possessed prior to July 7, 2000. A prior entry permit must be obtained from the director for all other wild animal or exotic animal species not listed above or regulated by the fish and wildlife service of the United States Department of Interior or the Department of Natural Resources of this state. Prior to an exotic animal entering the state the Department of Natural Resources may require the possessor to have the animal examined by an accredited veterinarian to determine the health status, proper housing, husbandry and confinement standards are being met.

Citation: MICH. COMP. LAWS §287.731, MICH. COMP. LAWS §287.1001-1023, MICH. COMP. LAWS §287.1101-1123

Minnesota

Category: B*

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for a person to possess a regulated animal. A regulated animal is defined as all members of the felidae family (except domestic cats); all bears; and all non-human primates. A person who possesses a regulated animal on the effective date of the law, January 1, 2005, has 90 days to register the animal with the local animal control authority. Persons possessing a registered regulated animal may replace the regulated animal if he/she dies, but may replace he/she only once.

Citation: MINN. STAT. 346.155

Mississippi

Category: L

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for a person to import or possess any wild animal classified inherently dangerous by law or regulation unless that person holds a permit or is exempted from holding a permit. Inherently dangerous animals include, but are not limited to the following animals: orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, macaques, mandrills, baboons, wolves, bears, hyenas, lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, elephants, etc. However, there are no state requirements for private possession of small non-domesticated felines such as ocelots, servals, etc.

Citation: MISS. CODE ANN. §49-8-5 and §49-8-7

Missouri

Category: L

Summary of Law: A person may not keep a lion, tiger, leopard, ocelot, jaguar, cheetah, margay, mountain lion, Canada lynx, bobcat, jaguarundi, hyena, wolf, coyote, or any deadly dangerous, or poisonous reptile unless such person has registered the animal with the local law enforcement agency in the county in which the animal is kept. As of Jan. 1, 2012, pursuant to the Large Carnivore Act ( 578.602), no person shall own or possess, breed, transfer ownership or possession of, receive a transfer of ownership of possession of, or transport a large carnivore without a permit. "Large carnivore" is defined as tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard, snow leopard, clouded leopard and cheetah, including a hybrid cross with such cat, but excluding any unlisted nonnative cat, or any common domestic or house cat; or a bear of a species that is nonnative to this state and held in captivity. Any person possessing, breeding, or transporting a large carnivore on or after Jan. 1, 2012, shall apply for and obtain a permit from the division. Circuses, the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine, and zoos are exempt.

Citation: MO. REV. STAT. §578.023; §578.600-624

Montana

Category: L & N

Summary of Law: A person may not operate a wild animal menagerie without obtaining a permit. A "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. All other exotic animals entering the state, such as reptiles, monkeys, etc., must be accompanied by a one-time entry permit and an official health certificate.

Citation: MONT. CODE ANN. 87-4-801, 87-4-803, and 87-4-804; MONT. ADMIN. R. §32.3.202

Nebraska

Category: B*

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for persons to possess any wolf, skunk, or any member of the Felidae (cats, except domesticated) and Ursidae (bear) families unless the animal was in possession prior to March 1, 1986. However, there are no state requirements for non-human primates and reptiles.

Citation: NEB. REV. STAT. §37-477

Nevada

Category: N

Summary of Law: Specific animals, set forth in NEV. ADMIN. CODE ch. 503, §110 are prohibited from private ownership except if the animal was in possession prior to February 28, 1994. Examples of animals listed under §110 are the following: alligators, crocodiles, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, etc. However, other exotic animals may be possessed without a permit or license. Examples of these exotic animals are: monkeys and other Primates, Marsupials, elephants, felines, wolves, etc.

Citation: NEV. ADMIN. CODE ch. 503, §110; ch. 503, §140; ch. 504, §488

New Hampshire

Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for persons to possess exotic animals, such as felines, bears, wolves, poisonous reptiles, and non-human primates, unless they are exhibitors. However, there are certain noncontrolled animals that may be privately possessed within the state without a license. Noncontrolled animals include, but are not limited to: sugar gliders, non-venomous reptiles, ferrets, etc.

Citation: N.H. REV. STATE ANN. §207:14 and N.H. CODE ADMIN. R Fis §802.01, §804.01, §804.02, §804.03, §804.04, §804.05, Table 800.02

New Jersey

Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for persons to possess a potentially dangerous species as a "pet." Potentially dangerous species include the following orders: Primates; Carnivora (nondomestic dogs and cats, bears); Saura (venomous gila monsters); Serpentes (venomous coral snakes, cobras, vipers, pit vipers); Crocodilia (alligators, crocodiles, gavials); Psittaciformes (ring-necked and monk parakeets); and Rodentia (prairie dogs, ground squirrels). Zoos and other exhibitors may possess these animals upon showing that specific criteria have been met, such as extensive experience in handling and caring for the animal.

Citation: N.J. ADMIN. CODE tit. 7, §25-4.8 and §25-4.9

New Mexico

Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for a person to possess non-domesticated felines, primates, crocodiles, alligators, and wolves.

Citation: Policy Statement by the Department of Game & Fish.

New York

Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for a person to possess a wild animal. A wild animal is defined as: all members of the felidae family (except domestic cats); all members of the canidae family (except domestic dogs); all bears; all non-human primates, venomous reptiles, and crocodiles. A person who possesses a wild animal on the effective date of the law, January 1, 2005, has 60 days to obtain a permit for the animal with the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Citation: N.Y. ENVTL. CONSERV. §11-0103, §11-0303, §11-0511, §11-0512, §11-0516, §11-0103, and §11-0917; N.Y. AGRIC. & MKTS. §370.

North Carolina

Category: N

Summary of Law: A county or city may by ordinance regulate, restrict, or prohibit the possession of dangerous animals. In addition, an entry permit from the State Veterinarian is required before importing into the state a skunk, fox, raccoon, ringtail, bobcat, North and South American felines, coyote marten, and brushtail possum.

Citation: N.C. SESS. LAWS §153A-131 and §160A-187; N.C. ADMIN. CODE tit. 2, r. 52B.0212

North Dakota

Category: L

Summary of Law: Category 3, 4, or 5 of nontraditional livestock may be possessed in the state after obtaining an import permit; a nontraditional livestock license; a certificate from a veterinarian. Category 4 is those species that are considered inherently dangerous, including bears, wolves, wolf hybrids, primates, all non-domesticated cats except Canadian lynx, and bobcat.

Citation: N.D. ADMIN. CODE §48-12-01-02 and §48-12-01-03

Ohio

Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful to possess a dangerous wild animal after Jan. 1, 2014. Persons in possession of dangerous wild animals prior to Oct. 1, 2013, must obtain a permit in order to keep the animal(s) after Jan. 1, 2014. The definition of wild animal includes, but is not limited to: hyenas; gray wolves, excluding hybrids; lions; tigers; jaguars; leopards; cheetahs; cougars; bears; elephants; rhinoceroses; hippopotamuses; African wild dogs; Komodo dragons; alligators; crocodiles; caimans, excluding dwarf caimans; black-handed, white-bellied, brown-headed and black spider monkeys; common woolly monkeys; red, black and mantled howler monkeys.

Oklahoma

Category: L

Summary of Law: No person may possess or raise wildlife for commercial purposes without having first obtained a permit. Regardless to whether the possession is actually for "commercial purposes," all persons owning these animals as "pets" must obtain this particular permit.

Citation: OKLA. STAT. Tit. 29, §4-107

Oregon

Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for a person to possess an exotic animal. Exotic animal is defined as any wild cat, non-human primate, canine not indigenous to Oregon, bear (except black bear), and any alligator, crocodile, or caiman. A person who possesses an exotic animal on the effective date of the law may continue to keep the animal and has 90 days to obtain a permit for the animal with the Department of Agriculture.

Citation: OR. REV. STAT. §609.305-§609.335

Pennsylvania

Category: L

Summary of Law: No person may keep exotic wildlife without first receiving a permit from the wildlife commission. Exotic wildlife includes, but is not limited to all bears, coyotes, lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, cougars, wolves, and any crossbreed of these animals, which have similar characteristics in appearance or features.

Citation: 34 PA. CONS. STAT. ANN. §2961 and §2963 58 Pa. Code §137.1.

Rhode Island

Category: L

Summary of Law: No person may possess, without first obtaining a permit from the department, animals of the following orders, families, and genera: Primates, Carnivores, Amphibia, Reptilia, Canidae, and Insecta. All person obtaining a permit must demonstrate they have both adequate facilities, and adequate knowledge of animal health and husbandry to ensure both public safety and health.

Citation: R.I. GEN. LAWS §4-18-3; 1994 R.I. PUB. LAWS 12 020 030

South Carolina

Category: N

Summary of Law: It is unlawful to possess wolves or coyotes within the state. It is also unlawful to possess wildlife indigenous to the state without a permit. Specifically, one can not possess members of the Cervidae, Suidae, Tayassuidae (peccaries), Bovidae (bison, mountain goat, mountain sheep), nor can they possess coyotes, bears, turkeys, and furbearers. However, there are no state laws governing the possession of non-domesticated felines, primates, reptiles, and other wildlife not listed above.

Citation: S.C. CODE REGS. §50-11-1765 and §50-16-20

South Dakota

Category: L

Summary of Law: A permit is required to possess any non-domestic mammal, or any hybrids thereof of the following orders: Carnivora (Felidae — non-domestic, Canidae — non-domestic, Ursidae — bears, Mustelidae, and Hyaenidae); Artiodactyla (hoofed animals); Perissodactyla (Tapiridae and Rhinocerotidae). In addition, all animals (including those listed above and non-human primates and reptiles) must be examined by a veterinarian and be free of any contagious, infectious, epidemic, or communicable disease. No person may possess non-domestic pigs or raccoon dogs.

Citation: S.D. ADMIN. R. 12:68:18:03 and 12:68:18:03.01; and S.D. CODIFIED LAWS ANN. 40-14-2

Tennessee

Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for persons to possess Class I wildlife unless they were in possession of the animal(s) prior to June 25, 1991. Class I wildlife includes the following orders: Primates (gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, gibbons, siamangs, mandrills, drills, baboons, Gelada baboons only); Carnivores (all wolves, all bears, lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, cougars); Proboscidia (all elephants); Perissodactyla (all rhinoceroses); Artiodactyla (all hippos and African buffalos); Crocodylia (crocodiles and alligators); Serpentes (all poisonous snakes); and Amphibians (all poisonous species). However, the state does not regulate private possession of species not listed above, such as monkeys and small non domesticated cats (ocelots, servals, etc.).

Citation: TENN. CODE ANN §70-4-401, §70-4-403, and §70-4-404

Texas

Category: L

Summary of Law: No person may possess a dangerous wild animal without first obtaining a license (certificate of registration). Dangerous wild animals are defined as lions, tigers, ocelots, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, bobcats, lynxes, servals, caracals, hyenas, bears, coyotes, jackals, baboons, chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas, or any hybrids of the animals listed. However, there are no requirements for a person possessing all other animal not listed above, such as monkeys, wolves etc.

Citation: TEX. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE ANN. § 822.101-116; TEX. LOC. GOV'T CODE ANN. § 240.002(a) and § 240.0025

Utah

Category: B

Summary of Law: A person may not possess live zoological animals that are classified as prohibited. Prohibited animals include, but are not limited to, the following families: Ursidae (bears), Canidae (all species), Felidae (all species except non-domesticated cats), Mustelidae (all species), Non-human primates, and certain species of reptiles, etc. However, in rare circumstances a person may possess these animals as a "pet" if the person obtains a certificate of registration from the Wildlife Board. Generally, exhibitors and educational and scientific facilities only obtain these registrations. A certificate of registration is not required for non-controlled species which alligators and crocodiles fall under.

Citation: UTAH ADMIN. R. 657-3-17, R. 657-3-24, R. 657-3-25, and R. 657-3-27

Vermont

Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for persons to possess exotic animals, such as large felines, bears, wolves, poisonous reptiles, and non-human primates as "pets." Persons may possess exotic animals for exhibition and educational purposes if they obtain a permit. Please note that the state statute says a person may not bring into the state or possess an exotic animal unless they obtain a permit. However, no personal possession permits for "pets" are issued to individuals.

Citation: VT. STAT. ANN. Tit. 10, §4709

Virginia

Category: B*

Summary of Law: No person may possess nonnative exotic animals that are classed as predatory or undesirable as a "pet." Nonnative exotic animals include, but are not limited to: bears, wolves, coyotes, weasels, badgers, hyenas, all species of non-domesticated cats, alligators, and crocodiles. Persons may possess these animals if they are a licensed exhibitor, i.e. commercial, educational or scientific uses. However, there are no state requirements for a person possessing non-human primates.

Citation: 4 VAC 15-30-10; 15-30-40

Washington

Category: B

Summary of Law: No person may possess or breed a potentially dangerous animal after July, 2007. A potentially dangerous animal includes but not limited to Large cats, wolves, bears, hyenas, non-human primates, elephants, alligators, crocodiles, water monitors, crocodile monitors; and various species of venomous snakes.

Citation: WASH. REV. CODE §16-30

West Virginia

Category: N

Summary of Law: The state only regulates native species to the state. A person possessing a native animal in captivity as a "pet" must obtain a permit. However, there are no state laws governing private possession of exotic animals.

Citation: W. VA. CODE § 20-2-51

Wisconsin

Category: N

Summary of Law: Requires all animals commonly sold in pet shops to have certificates of veterinary inspection if they are brought from outside the state.

Citation: WIS. ADMIN. CODE ATCP § 11.02

Wyoming

Category: B

Summary of Law: It is unlawful for persons to possess big or trophy game animals. Big game is defined as antelope, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, moose or mountain goat. Trophy game is defined as black bear, grizzly bear or mountain lion. According to WY Fish and Game, it is unlawful to possess all other exotic animals such as, tigers, lions, primates, wolves, bears, etc.

Citation: WYO. STAT. §23-1-101 and §23-1-103; WYO. REG. Chapter 10, §5

Legend:

B = Ban on private ownership of exotic animals — non-domesticated felines, wolves, bears, reptiles, non-human primates

B* = Partial ban on private ownership of exotic animals — allows ownership of some exotic animals but precludes ownership of the animals listed

L = Requires the "owner" of the exotic animal to obtain a license or permit or to register the animal with state or local authorities to privately possess the animal (excludes states only requiring import permits)

N = The state does not require the "owner" to obtain a license or permit to possess the animal within the state, but may regulate some aspect thereof (i.e. entry permit, veterinary certificate, etc.)

O = No statute or regulation governing this issue

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