West Virginia Legislation
Born Free USA position: SUPPORT
Bill description: This bill would ban the private possession of all “wild and exotic animals,” which are defined as any animals other than domestic and livestock. Exotic animals can include mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fresh water fish that are either native wildlife or exotic, including hybrids. The bill delegates the responsibility of coming up with a comprehensive list to the Division of Natural Resources.
Exotic animals owned prior to the enactment of this bill can be kept, as long as the owner obtains a permit. The bill is also carefully crafted to ensure that only private owners of exotic animals are affected. This bill does not apply to accredited exhibitors, nonprofits, animal control agencies, wildlife rehabilitators, veterinary clinics, sanctuaries, researchers, or educational institutions.
West Virginia is one of only eight states that lack any restrictions for wild and exotic animals kept by private individuals.
A similar version of this bill, S.B. 477, was introduced in 2012 but did not pass.
Take action! West Virginia citizens, urge your lawmakers to support this bill.