Possession of Wild Animal: Related Statutes

Statute by categorysort descending Citation Summary
AL - Bear Protection - Legislative findings. Prohibited activities; exceptions; applicability; penalties. Ala. Code 1975 § 9-11-480 - 481

These Alabama statutes were signed into law in 2001.  The laws declare that black bears are a species that require special protection in the state and make it illegal to hunt, wound, injure, kill, trap, collect, or capture a black bear, or to attempt to engage in that conduct during the closed season for black bear.  It also makes it illegal to sell or purchase bear parts.

AL - Hunting - Article 19. Hunting of Native Game Animals and Certain Nonindigenous Animals. Ala. Code 1975 § 9-11-501 - 505

This Alabama statute makes it unlawful to hunt or kill any species of nonindigenous animals for a fee or for recreation. This section does not apply to feral swine, nuisance animals, or to any nonindigenous animal lawfully brought into this state prior to 2006.

AL - Wildlife - § 9-2-13. Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources -- Authority to prohibit importation of birds, anim Ala. Code 1975 § 9-2-13

This Alabama law provides that the Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources may, by regulation, prohibit the importation of any animal when such importation is not in the best interest of the state. However, this does not apply to those animals used for display purposes at circuses, carnivals, zoos, and other shows or exhibits. Importing a prohibited animal into the state is a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of $1,000 - 5,000, or jail for 30 days, or both.

AL - Wildlife, Captive - Article 11. Possession of Wildlife for Public Exhibition Purposes. Ala. Code 1975 § 9-11-320 - 328

This set of Alabama laws relates to the possession of captive wildlife. The Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources may issue an annual permit to possess wildlife for public exhibition to a person qualified by education or experience in the care and treatment of wildlife at at a cost of $25.00. Violation of any provision of the article results in a fine of not more than $500.00, imprisonment for not more than three months, or both. Notably, the provisions of the article do not apply to any municipal, county, state or other publicly owned zoo or wildlife exhibit, privately owned traveling zoo or circus or pet shop.

AR - Exotic Pets, Large Carnivores - Subchapter 5. Ownership and Possession of Large Carnivores A.C.A. § 20-19-501 - 511

This Arkansas subchapter concerns the ownership and possession of large carnivores. Under the law, a large carnivore is defined as a bear, lion, or tiger. A person may possess a large carnivore only if he or she was in possession of the large carnivore on or before August 12, 2005 and the person applies for and is granted a permit for personal possession for each large carnivore not more than one hundred eighty (180) days after August 12, 2005. Except for these "grandfathered" possessors and other entities (zoos, USDA permittees, veterinary hospitals, etc.) it is illegal for anyone to own, possess, breed, or transfer ownership of a large carnivore.

AR - Primates - Subchapter 6. Nonhuman Primates A.C.A. § 20-19-601 - 610

This new 2013 Act prohibits the importing, possession, selling, or breeding of apes, baboons, and macques. It is unlawful under the act for a person to allow a member of the public to come into direct contact with a primate. Further, a person cannot tether a primate outdoors or allow a primate to run at-large. The section does not apply to accredited AZA institutions, AWA regulated research facilities, wildlife sanctuaries, temporary holding facilities, licensed veterinarians providing treatment, law enforcement officers, circuses holding AWA Class C licenses as provided, and those temporarily in the state. The act has a grandfathering provision that allows a person at least 18 years of age to continue to possess the restricted primate if within 180 days after the effective date of the act the person registers the animal per § 20-19-605 and follows other listed requirements.

AZ - Endangered, nongame - Illegal Taking or Wounding of Wildlife A. R. S. § 17-268, § 17-296, § 17-298, § 17-298.01, § 17-314, § 17-401

Arizona assesses a monetary civil penalty for the possession or taking of listed species of wildlife and endangered/nongame wildlife (including eagles).  This fine goes to the state wildlife theft prevention fund and is in addition to any other fine or penalty assessed by law.

AZ - Wildlife - Taking and Handling of Wildlife. Article 1. General Regulations A. R. S. § 17-301 to 320

The following statutes comprise Arizona's wildlife code. Among the provisions include methods of taking wildlife, hunting restrictions, the state's hunter interference laws, and laws specific to mountain lions, bears, and jaguars.

CA - Birds - Part 2. Birds. West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 3500 - 3864

These various sections are all related to the protection of birds in California.  Within these sections, the Legislature has enumerated fully protected birds in the state, prohibited activities such as destroying bird nests and eggs, required licenses for duck hunting, and outlined several provisions to guide state efforts in preserving and rehabilitating the California Condor.

CA - Fish & Game - Chapter 6.5. Control of Illegally Taken Fish and Wildlife West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2580 - 2589

This set of laws outlines various violations involving the possession and movement of illegally obtained animals and imposes liability for those activities.

CA - Fish & Game - Chapter 1. General Definitions West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 1 - 89.5

This chapter includes the general definitions for the Fish and Game Code.

CA - Fish & Game - Chapter 1. Taking and Possessing in General West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2000 - 2022

These sections make it unlawful to take any bird, mammal, fish, reptile, or amphibian except as provided in this code.  Some of the restrictions in the code refer to taking after season, offering a prize or inducement to take game, setting a bounty for an animal, using sniper scopes, artificial lights, or trap guns.  Section 2009 also makes it a crime willfully interfere with the participation of any individual in the lawful activity of shooting, hunting, or fishing.

CA - Fur - § 996. Fur bearing animals raised in captivity; ownership; protection of law West's Ann. Cal. Civ. Code § 996

This California law provides that any furbearing animal whether born in captivity or brought into captivity for the purpose of pelting fur is regarded as personal property, the same as other domestic animals.

CA - Hunting - Article 1. Methods of Taking (including trapping methods) West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 3000 - 3012

These sections pertain to hunting in California. A hunting license is required, and certain hunting methods are prohibited, such as night hunting, hunting while intoxicated, shooting at an animal from a vehicle, Internet hunting, the use of body-gripping or metal-jawed traps, the use of certain poisons and lead bullets, and the use of bird or mammal calls.

CA - Hunting - § 2124. Possession, purchase, sale or transfer of wild animals for purpose of injuring or killing the animal for West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2124

Under this California law, it is unlawful for any person to possess, transport, import, export, propagate, purchase, sell, or transfer any live mammal for the purposes of maiming, injuring, or killing the mammal for gain, amusement, or sport.

CA - Hunting Bears - Chapter 9. Bear West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4750 - 4763

These sections outline the requirements for taking a bear in California.  It is unlawful, for example, to take any bear with a firearm, trap, or bow and arrow without first procuring a license tag authorizing the taking.  These sections list the license requirements and other restrictions on the method of taking, including penalties for violations.

CA - Importation - Chapter 2. Of Other and Miscellaneous Offenses (653o - 653r) West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code § 653o - 653r

These California laws relate to the importation of certain animals parts for commercial purposes. Under the law, it is unlawful to import into this state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or any part or product thereof, of any polar bear, leopard, ocelot, tiger, cheetah, jaguar, sable antelope, wolf (Canis lupus), zebra, whale, cobra, python, sea turtle, colobus monkey, kangaroo, vicuna, sea otter, free-roaming feral horse, dolphin or porpoise (Delphinidae), Spanish lynx, or elephant. Starting in 2015, it shall be unlawful to import into this state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or any part or product thereof, of any crocodile or alligator. Section 653p makes it unlawful to posses with the intent to sell any part or dead body of any species on the federal endangered species list or species covered under the MMPA. Section 653q makes it illegal to import for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or any part or product thereof, of any seal.

CA - Importation - Chapter 3. Importation of Wild Animals. West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 121775 - 121870

This California set of law relates to the importation of "wild animals" (defined as any animal of the class Aves (birds) or class Mammalia (mammals) that either is not normally domesticated in this state or not native to this state). The violation of any provision of this chapter shall be a misdemeanor. The department may issue a permit to import a wild animal provided that a determination is made that public health or safety will not be endangered.

CA - Mammals - § 4700. Taking or possession prohibited; scientific research; legal imports; fully protected mammals specified West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4700

This statute enumerates the fully protected mammals in the state of California.  These animals may not be taken or possessed at any time.  The statute also specifically states that permits or licenses to take these animals will not be issued, with a possible exception in the case of necessary scientific research.

CA - Mountain Lions - Chapter 10. Mountain Lions West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4800 - 4810

California statutes make mountain lions specially protected mammals.  These sections make it unlawful to take, injure, possess, transport, import, or sell any mountain lion or any part or product thereof.  Specific exceptions to these prohibitions include instances where a mountain lion is perceived to be an imminent threat to public health or safety or when it is perceived by to be an imminent threat to the survival of any threatened, endangered, candidate, or fully protected sheep species. 

CA - Protected Reptiles & Amphibians - Division 5. Protected Reptiles and Amphibians West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 5000 - 5062

These sections are the California statutes that specifically protect certain reptiles and amphibians.  The sections enumerate the protected species and strictly prohibit taking and possession, with  a narrow exception that may be granted by permit to an educational or scientific institution or a public zoological garden.

CA - Sharks - § 2021. Shark fins; unlawful possession, sale, offer for sale, trading, or distribution; exceptions West's Ann.Cal.Fish & G.Code §§ 2021, 2021.5

Under these California statutes, it is unlawful to possess, sell, offer for sale, trade, or distribute a shark fin. However, there are exceptions for people who have a license or permit. In addition, people and restaurants who have a shark fin as of January 1, 2012 may possess it until January 1, 2013.

CA - Wild Animal - Chapter 2. Importation, Transportation, and Sheltering of Restricted Live Wild Animals. West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2116 - 2203

The California Legislature adopted this act based on a findings that wild animals are captured for importation and resold in California and that some populations of wild animals are being depleted, that many animals die in captivity or transit, and that some keepers of wild animals lack sufficient knowledge or facilities for the proper care of wild animals.  It was the intention of the Legislature to regulate the importation, transportation, and possession of wild animals to protect the native wildlife and agricultural interests against damage from the existence at large of certain wild animals, and to protect the public health and safety in this state.  The act defines "wild animal" and classifies them by species.  Among other things, the act also includes inspection and permit provisions that govern the treatment of wild animals and the actions that may be taken where they are concerned.

CO - Hunting - Willful Destruction of Wildlife C. R. S. A. § 33-6-117

Colorado has a unique statute specific to poaching for the purpose of acquiring parts or "trophies" from an animal with the intent of abandoning the carcass, or even soliciting someone else to do so.  Taking or hunting big game, eagles, or endangered species with this intent results in a felony.  The intent of the law is stated "to protect the wildlife from wanton, ruthless, or wasteful destruction or mutilation for their heads, hides, claws, teeth, antlers, horns, internal organs, or feathers."

CO - Wildlife - Article 6. Law Enforcement and Penalties--Wildlife. C. R. S. A. § 33-6-101 to 142

These Colorado statutes represent Part 1 of the state's wildlife code. Among the provisions include violations for improperly taking wildlife, hunting provisions, and a law prohibiting computer-assisted remote hunting.

CO - Wildlife trade - Illegal sale of wildlife; penalties C. R. S. A. § 33-6-113

Colorado statute addressing illegal sale of wildlife, including bears.

CO - Wildlife, nongame - Wildlife; Illegal Possession C. R. S. A. § 33-6-109

Colorado law prohibits the taking, hunting, or possession of animals deemed property of the state or wildlife taken in violation of state, federal, or non-U.S. law (including bald and golden eagles), resulting in a misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and fines.  Further, there is an additional penalty for the taking of "big game" species.  It is also illegal to have in one's possession any nonnative or exotic species.

Connecticut General Statutes: Chapter 331: Section 6367 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 6367 (1918).

Section 6367 of Chapter 329 from the 1918 General Laws of Connecticut covers the transportation of wild animals.  Specifically, the statute establishes the duty of care that must be given to the public when transporting a wild animal.

CT - Exotic Pets - § 26-40a. Possession of potentially dangerous animal; Chapter 490. Fisheries and Game C. G. S. A. § 26-1, § 26-40a; § 26-54, 55, 61

These Connecticut states reflect the state's laws on the keeping of wild animals. Under § 26-40a, no person shall possess a potentially dangerous animal, which includes wildlife such as the  lion, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, ocelot, jaguarundi cat, puma, lynx, bobcat, wolf, coyote, all species of bears, gorilla, chimpanzee and orangutan. The Department of Environmental Protection shall issue a bill to the owner or person in illegal possession of such potentially dangerous animal for all costs of seizure, care, maintenance, relocation or disposal of such animal. Additionally, any person who violates any provision of this section shall be assessed a civil penalty not to exceed $2000, and is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Under § 26-55, no person shall import or introduce into the state, possess or let loose, any live fish, wild bird, wild mammal, reptile, amphibian or invertebrate unless such person has obtained a permit. Again, a violator is responsible for expenses from the seizure, maintenance, and relocation of the illegally imported animal. The penalty includes a civil fine up to $1000 and results in a class C misdemeanor.

CT - Fisheries & Wildlife - Chapter 490. Fisheries and Game C. G. S. A. § 26-1

Definitions for the Connecticut Statute for Fisheries and Wildlife

DC - Exotic Pets - § 8-1808. Prohibited conduct. DC CODE § 8-1808

Among other things covered under the law, this D.C. law prohibits the importation into the District, possession, display, offering for sale, trading, bartering, exchanging, or adopting, or giving as a household pet any living member of the animal kingdom including those born or raised in captivity, except the following: domestic dogs (excluding hybrids with wolves, coyotes, or jackals), domestic cats (excluding hybrids with ocelots or margays), domesticated rodents and rabbits, captive-bred species of common cage birds, nonpoisonous snakes, fish, and turtles, traditionally kept in the home for pleasure rather than for commercial purposes, and racing pigeons (when kept in compliance with permit requirements).

DC - Wildlife Control - Chapter 22 Wildlife Protection DC CODE § 8-2201 - 2212

The following D.C. statutes provide the legal requirements for wildlife control service providers, which are defined as operators of businesses which involve the charging of a fee for services in wildlife control. Specifically, these statutes provide provisions about capturing target animals and non-target animals, as well as indicating how often a wildlife control service providers must check their traps.

DE - Exotic Pets - CHAPTER 72. POSSESSION OF MAMMALS OR REPTILES EXOTIC TO DELAWARE 3 Del.C. § 7201 - 7203

This Delaware law requires a permit to possess, sell, or import any non-native wild animal. No such permits will be granted for non-native venomous snakes.

DE - Wildlife - Chapter 1. Protected Wildlife 7 Del.C. § 101 - 204

These statutes comprise Delaware's protected wildlife provisions. The section outlines the powers and duties of the Department of Fish and Wildlife as well as how funds derived from fishing and hunting licenses may be used. The code also explains the procedure private parties may take when protected wildlife injures crops.

FL - Endangered - Endangered and Threatened Species Act West's F. S. A. § 379.2291 - 231

These Florida statutes define endangered and threatened species and provide the State's intent to protect these species.  Under statute, the intentional killing or wounding of a listed species incurs a third degree felony.  Interestingly, the state has a reward program for the arrest and conviction of those who violate state endangered species laws.

FL - Exhibition - Deformed Animals - Chapter 877. Miscellaneous Crimes. West's F. S. A. § 877.16

This law makes it illegal to exhibit any deformed, mutilated or disfigured animal for compensation.

FL - Hunting - Chapter 379. Fish and Wildlife Conservation West's F. S. A. § 379.302

This Florida statute provides that any person owning land in this state may establish, maintain, and operate within the boundaries thereof, a private preserve and farm, not exceeding an area of 640 acres, for the protection, preservation, propagation, rearing, and production of game birds and animals for private and commercial purposes.  All private game preserves or farms established under the provisions of this section shall be fenced in such manner that domestic game thereon may not escape and wild game on surrounding lands may not enter.  Violation of this section results in a misdemeanor and forfeiture of the violator's license to operate for one year.

FL - Wildlife - Chapter 379. Fish and Wildlife Conservation. West's F. S. A. § 379.231 - 504

These Florida laws concern the keeping and taking of captive wildlife. Places where wildlife is held in captivity are subject to inspection by the officers of the state commission at any time. The commission shall promulgate rules defining Class I, Class II, and Class III types of wildlife. A companion statutory section provides that, in order to assure humane treatment of captive wildlife, no person, firm, corporation or association shall be in possession of captive wildlife for public display unless a permit has been obtained. The cost of the permit depends on whether the species fall into Class I, II, or III).

GA - Alligators - Article 7. Feeding of Wild Alligators Ga. Code Ann., § 27-3-170

This Georgia law makes it illegal to willfully feed or bait any wild alligator not in captivity. Violation is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $200 or confinement up to 30 days, or both.

GA - Deer Hunting - CHAPTER 5. WILD ANIMALS Ga. Code Ann., § 27-5-12

Under this Georgia statute, it is unlawful to shoot, kill, or wound any wild animal held under a wild animal license or permit or any farmed deer for enjoyment, gain, amusement, or sport.

GA - Exotic pets, wildlife - Chapter 5. Wild Animals Ga. Code Ann., § 27-5-1 to 12

These Georgia wildlife provisions embody the General Assembly's finding that it is in the public interest to ensure the public health, safety, and welfare by strictly regulating in this state the importation, transportation, sale, transfer, and possession of certain wild animals. Animals such as kangaroos, certain non-human primates, wolves, bears, big cats, hippopotamus, and crocodile, among others, are considered to be inherently dangerous to human beings and are subject to the license or permit and insurance requirements outlined in the laws. The section also details specifications for the humane handling, care, confinement and transportation of certain wild animals.

GA - Hunting - Chapter 3. Wildlife Generally Ga. Code Ann., § 27-3-22 Georgia is unique as it prohibits the killing, possession, sale, and transporting of eagles and other migratory birds except for the transportation of feathers into the state of non-migratory birds for millinery purposes (the making of hats or headdresses).
GA - Hunting, Canned - Article 4. Shooting Preserves. Ga. Code Ann., § 27-3-110 to 115

Under the Georgia canned hunting statute, it is unlawful for any person to release pen raised game birds, unless the person has first obtained a license. It it unlawful to hunt pen raised game birds, other than ringed-neck pheasants, on a shooting preserve except between October 1 and March 31, and except from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. It is unlawful for any person to propagate, possess, or release on any shooting preserve any bird or animal except game raised pen birds unless the person has received prior written approval from the department. Licensees must maintain a complete record of all pen raised game birds propagated, released, or taken on the preserve.

GA - Wildlife rehabilitation - Chapter 2. Licenses, Permits, and Stamps Generally Ga. Code Ann., § 27-2-22

This Georgia law makes it unlawful for any person to keep sick or injured wildlife without first obtain a wildlife rehabilitation permit from the state department.

GA - Wildlife, transportation - Article 3. Transportation Ga. Code Ann., § 27-3-90 to 94

This GA statute pertains to transporting wildlife. It is unlawful to transport any wildlife taken in this state without a license or permit. It is unlawful to transport wildlife by a carrier unless the person files with the carrier a written statement giving his name and address and the number of wildlife to be transported and specifying that he lawfully took the wildlife. It is unlawful to transport any wildlife (or parts) for propagation or scientific purposes without a valid scientific collecting permit.

HI - Importation, quarantine - Chapter 150A. Plant and Non-Domestic Animal Quarantine and Microorganism Import H R S § 150A-5 - 15

These laws concern the importation of animals, plants, and microorganisms into the State of Hawaii.

HI - Shark fins; prohibited - Chapter 188. Fishing Rights and Regulations. H R S § 188-40.7

Hawaii passed this law in 2010 prohibiting the sale, trade, or distribution of shark fins. Prior to July 1, 2011, any restaurant holding a valid certificate, permit, or license issued by the department of health may possess, sell, offer for sale, trade, or distribute shark fins possessed by that restaurant as of July 1, 2010 which are prepared for consumption. Any person violating this section or any rule adopted pursuant to this section incurs an administrative fine of not less than $5,000 and not more than $15,000 for first offense. The fine then increases to $15,000 - $35,000 for a second offense, and $35,000 - 50,000 or imprisonment for up to 1 year, or both, for a third or subsequent offense.

HI - Wildlife - Chapter 183D. Wildlife. H R S § 183D-1 - 65

These statutes comprise Hawaii's wildlife provisions.

IA - Dangerous - Chapter 717F. Dangerous Wild Animals I. C. A. § 717F.1 - 13

This Iowa set of laws concerns the keeping of dangerous wild animals. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a person shall not own or possess a dangerous wild animal or cause or allow a dangerous wild animal owned by a person or in the person's possession to breed. Further, a person shall not transport a dangerous wild animal into this state. There is a grandfather provision that allows a person who owns or possesses a dangerous wild animal on July 1, 2007 to continue to own or possess the dangerous wild animal subject the provisions of the laws. A person owning or possessing a dangerous wild animal who violates a provision of this chapter is subject to a civil penalty of not less than two hundred dollars and not more than two thousand dollars for each dangerous wild animal involved in the violation.

ID - Exotic - Chapter 39. Importation or Possession of Deleterious Exotic Animals I.C. § 25-3901 - 3905

In Idaho, all apes and other nonhuman primates are classified as “deleterious exotic animals,” which are dangerous to the environment, livestock, agriculture, or wildlife of the state. According to Idaho’s legislature, it is in the public interest to strictly regulate the importation and possession of those animals.

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