West Virginia Legislation
Born Free USA position: SUPPORT
Update: This bill was signed into law by the governor on March 25, 2014.
This bill would prohibit the private possession of all “wild and exotic animals." Exotic animals can include mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fresh water fish that are not native wildlife, 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 six states that lack significant 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.
Check out our page on exotic pets for more details on why private ownership of wild animals is both cruel and dangerous.