Arkansas State Laws Governing Private Possession of Exotic Animals
As used in this subchapter:
(1) "Large carnivore" means any live individual of those species of animals that are inherently dangerous to humans, including:
(B) Lions; and
(G) [sic] All bears.
(2) "Possessor" means a person who owns, keeps, or has custody or control of a large carnivore; and
(3)(A) "Wildlife sanctuary" means a nonprofit organization under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as it existed that operates a place of refuge where abused, neglected, unwanted, impounded, abandoned, orphaned or displaced large carnivores are provided care for their lifetime; and
(B) "Wild life" sanctuary does not mean a place that:
(i) Conducts any activity that is not inherent to the large carnivor's [sic] nature;
(ii) Uses the large carnivore for any type of entertainment;
(iii) Sells, trades, or barters the large carnivore or the large carnivore's body parts; or
(iv) Breeds the large carnivore for purposes of sale.
• ARK. CODE ANN. §20-19-502. Prohibited acts
(a) Except as permitted under this subchapter, it is unlawful for a person to:
(1) Own or possess a large carnivore;
(2) Breed a large carnivore; or
(3) Transfer ownership or possession of, or receive a transfer of ownership or possession of a large carnivore, with or without remuneration.
(b) Except as permitted under this subchapter, it is unlawful for a person or other entity in control of any property, residence, or business premises to knowingly permit any other person to be in possession of a large carnivore upon the property, residence, or business premises.
• ARK. CODE ANN. §20-19-503. Exemptions
This subchapter does not apply to:
(1) Institutions accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association;
(2) Registered nonprofit humane societies;
(3) Animal control officers or law enforcement officers acting under the authority of this subchapter;
(4) Veterinary hospitals or clinics;
(5) A person or organization with a U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Exhibition permit;
(6) Employees of the Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission in the performance of their duties;
(7) Those persons holding a valid Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission scientific collection permit applicable to a large carnivore; or
(8) Persons or organizations with and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Wildlife Breeder/Dealer permit.
• ARK. CODE ANN. §20-19-504. Permit for personal possession
(a) A person may possess a large carnivore only if:
(1) The person was in possession of the large carnivore and was the legal possessor of the large carnivore on or before the effective date of this subchapter; and
(2) The person applies for and is granted a permit for personal possession for each large carnivore in the person's possession not more than one hundred and eighty (180) days after the effective date of this subchapter.
(b)(1) A person under subsection (a) of this section shall annually obtain a permit for personal possession.
(2) After the effective date of this subchapter, any additional large carnivore shall not be brought into possession under the authority of a permit for personal possession.
(c)(1) An applicant shall file an application to receive a permit for personal possession with the county sheriff's department of the county where the large carnivore is kept on forms provided by the sheriff's department.
(2) The application shall include:
(A) The name, address, and telephone number of the applicant;
(B) A description of each large carnivore, including the scientific classification, name, sex, age, color, weight, and distinguishing marks or coloration that would aid in the identification of the animal;
(C) A photograph of the large carnivore;
(D) The location where the large carnivore is kept; and
(E) The name, address, and telephone number of the person from whom the applicant obtained the large carnivore, if known.
(3) The application shall be signed by the veterinarian who is expected to provide veterinary care to the large carnivore and shall have the veterinarian's name, address, telephone number.
(d) The county sheriff's department shall not grant a permit unless:
(1) An annual permit fee of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for each large carnivore accompanies the application;
(2) The applicant is eighteen (18) years of age or older;
(3) The applicant has not been found guilty or pled nolo contendere or guilty to any animal cruelty violations in the past ten (10) years or to a felony offense for possession, sale, or use of illegal narcotics in the past ten (10) years;
(4) The facility and the conditions in which the large carnivore is kept comply with this subchapter; and
(5) The applicant has obtained the liability insurance coverage for the large carnivore as required under this subchapter.
(e)(1) The county sheriff's department shall keep records of persons issued a valid permit for personal possession of a large carnivore and provide the copies of the records to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission when each permit is issued.
(2) A permit holder shall notify the county sheriff's department of any changes of the permit holder's information, including the death of the large carnivore.
(f)(1) In addition to the other requirements for issuance of a permit for personal possession, the large carnivore shall be spayed or neutered before a permit is issued to the possessor unless a veterinarian confirms that spaying and neutering would endanger the large carnivore.
(2) A record of the large carnivore being spayed or neutered by a veterinarian is to be kept on file by the permit holder.
(g) All fees levied and collected for permits of personal possession under this section shall be deposited into the county treasury to be used by the county sheriff's department to offset the cost of issuing permits of personal possession, for any costs involved in controlling large carnivores located within the county, and for any other animal control costs.
• ARK. CODE ANN. §20-19-505. Caging requirements
(a)(1) The possessor of a large carnivore is required to maintain the large carnivore in a cage that meets the requirements recommended by the U. S. Department of Agriculture or the American Zoo and Aquarium Association as in existence on January 1, 2005, for each species of large carnivore.
(2) Failure to provide the caging required by this section shall result in the cancellation of the permit for personal possession.
(b) Deviations from these caging requirements may be approved by the county sheriff of the county where the animal is kept upon showing of good cause.
• ARK. CODE ANN. §20-19-506. Insurance--Signs--Notification
(a)(1) A possessor of a large carnivore shall maintain liability insurance coverage in an amount of not less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for each occurrence for liability damages for destruction of or damage to property and for death or bodily injury to a person caused by the large carnivore.
(2) The possessor of a large carnivore shall provide a copy of the policy for liability insurance to the county sheriff's department on an annual basis to obtain or renew a permit.
(b)(1) The possessor of a large carnivore shall post and display a sign at each possible entrance onto the premises where a large carnivore is kept.
(2) The sign shall be clearly legible and easily readable by the public.
(3) The sign shall warn that there is a large carnivore on the premises.
• ARK. CODE ANN. §20-19-507. Inspection
The possessor of a large carnivore shall allow an official of the county sheriff's department, an animal control officer, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officer, or a law enforcement officer of the municipality or county where the animal is kept to enter the premises to ensure compliance with this subchapter.
• ARK. CODE ANN. §20-19-508. Public contact--Warnings of escape
(a) The possessor of a large carnivore shall not bring a large carnivore to any commercial or retail establishment unless the possessor is bringing the large carnivore to a veterinarian clinic.
(b)(1) If a large carnivore escapes or is released, the possessor of the large carnivore shall immediately contact the Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission and law enforcement officials of the city or county where the possessor resides to report the escape or release.
(2) The possessor is liable for all expenses associated with efforts to recapture the large carnivore.
(c) Persons or organization with a U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Exhibition permit may take the large carnivores to schools and other exhibitions for educational or fundraising purposes.
• ARK. CODE ANN. §20-19-509. Confiscation
(a) A large carnivore may be immediately confiscated by a county sheriff's department if:
(1) The possessor does not have a permit for personal possession;
(2) The possessor does not have the liability insurance coverage required under this subchapter;
(3) Conditions under which the large carnivore is kept are directly or indirectly dangerous to human health and safety; or
(4) The caging requirements of § 20-19-505 are not met.
(b)(1) If a large carnivore is confiscated, the possessor shall be liable for the costs of placement and care for the large carnivore from the time of confiscation until the time the large carnivore has been relocated to an alternative facility.
(2) The county sheriff's department shall seek to place the confiscated large carnivore with a wildlife sanctuary, humane society, or an institution accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.
• ARK. CODE ANN. §20-19-510. Penalties
A person who is in violation of the prohibitions of § 20-19-502 is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
• ARK. CODE ANN. §20-19-511. Rules and regulations
The county sheriff's department of each county may collect the fees for the permits for personal possession required under this subchapter and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission may adopt rules and regulations to implement and enforce this act.
• ARK. CODE ANN. §20-19-602. Prohibited activities
(a) A person shall not import, possess, sell, or breed the following primates:
(1) An ape;
(2) A baboon; or
(3) A macaque.
(b)(1)(A) It is unlawful for a person to allow a member of the public to come into direct contact with a primate.
(B) Subdivision (b)(1)(A) of this section does not apply to a registered primate owner, the family of a registered primate owner, an invited guest of a registered primate owner.
(2) If a primate potentially exposes a human to rabies or another zoonotic disease by penetration or abrasion of the skin, the owner of the primate shall report the potential exposure to the local public health office within twenty-four (24) hours.
(c)(1) It is unlawful for a person to tether a primate outdoors, such as on a leash or chain, or to allow a primate to run at-large.
(2) If a primate escapes or is released, the owner of the primate immediately shall contact a law enforcement officer in the county in which the primate is kept and the Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission to report the loss, escape, or release.
(3) The owner of a primate that escapes or is released is liable for all expenses associated with efforts to recapture the primate.
(d) It is unlawful to violate the caging and care standards in this subchapter or to keep a primate in a manner that threatens animal welfare or public safety.
(e) It is unlawful to operate a primate commercial breeding facility in this state.View Acrobat PDF (HB1391) »