Animal Legal and Historical Center
Great Apes and the Law: A complete resource for the legal status of the Great Apes within the United States
Michigan State University College of Law

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Washington Great Ape Laws

Statute Name Citation Summary
WA - Cruelty - Chapter 16.52. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.   West's RCWA 16.52.010 - 320   This section of statutes contains Washington's anti-cruelty provisions.  Under the section, "animal" means any nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian.  WA ST 16.52.205 and WA ST 16.52.207 are the primary anti-cruelty provisions that categorize cruelty in either the first or second degree.  A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree (a class C felony) when he or she intentionally inflicts substantial pain on, causes physical injury to, or kills an animal by a means causing undue suffering, or forces a minor to inflict unnecessary pain, injury, or death on an animal.  A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree (a misdemeanor) if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the person knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal.  An owner of an animal is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree the owner knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence fails to provide the animal with necessary food, water, shelter, rest, sanitation, ventilation, space, or medical attention and the animal suffers unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain as a result of the failure, or if he or she abandons the animal.  
WA - Exotic Pet - Chapter 16.30. Dangerous Wild Animals   West's RCWA 16.30.005 - 900   This Washington chapter passed in 2007 regulates the keeping of dangerous wild animals. By definition, a potentially dangerous wild animal includes, among others, lions, tigers, captive-bred cougars, jaguars, cheetahs, leopards, wolves, (but excluding wolf-hybrids), bears, hyenas, non-human primates, elephants, rhinoceroses, certain reptiles, and venomous snakes. A person shall not own, possess, keep, harbor, bring into the state, or have custody or control of a potentially dangerous wild animal. A person in legal possession of a potentially dangerous wild animal prior to July 22, 2007, and who is the legal possessor of the animal may keep possession of the animal for the remainder of the animal's life.  
WA - Health - Chapter 16.36. Animal Health   West's RCWA 16.36.005 - 160   These laws set forth the laws for importation and health requirements of certain imported animals. It also allows the director to establish inspection procedures for the transportation of animals. A section provides that it is unlawful for a person to bring an animal into Washington state without first securing a certificate of veterinary inspection, reviewed by the state veterinarian of the state of origin, verifying that the animal meets the Washington state animal health  
WA - Research - 19.86.145. Penalties--Animals used in biomedical research   West's RCWA 19.86.145   This law provides that any violation of RCW 9.08.070 - 9.08.078 (relating to concealing or taking a pet animal with the intent to deprive or defraud the owner) or RCW 16.52.220 (relating to transfer of mammals other than rats or mice for use in research) constitutes an unfair or deceptive practice. Research institutions that violate this provision face only monetary penalties not to exceed $2,500.  

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