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Arizona State Laws Governing Private Possession of Exotic Animals

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ARIZ. COMP. ADMIN R. & REGS. R12-4-406 - Restricted Live Wildlife

A. Mammals listed below are "restricted live wildlife" as defined in R12-4-401. The taxonomic classification from Volumes I and II of Walker's Mammals of the World, Fifth Edition, 1991, and not including any later edition, shall be the authority in the following designations; a copy is on file with the Office of the Secretary of State and is available for inspection at any Department office.

  1. All species of the genus Didelphis. Common name: American opossums.

  2. All species of the order Insectivora. Common names: Insectivores or shrews and moles.

  3. All species of the order Chiroptera. Common name: bats.

  4. All species of the family Pongidae of the order Primates. Common names: orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas.

  5. All species of the order Edentata. Common names: edentates; or sloths, anteaters, armadillos.

  6. All species of the order Lagomorpha. Common names: pikas, rabbits, hares. Genus Oryctolagus, containing domestic rabbits, is not wildlife.

  7. All species of the following families of the order Rodentia. Common name: rodents.

    1. The family Sciuridae. Common names: squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, woodchucks and prairie dogs.

    2. The family Geomyidae. Common name: pocket gophers.

    3. The family Castoridae. Common name: beavers.

    4. The family Erethizontidae. Common name: New World porcupines.

    5. The family Capromyidae. Common names: hutias, coypus or nutrias.

  8. All species of the order Carnivora. Common name: carnivores. Canis familiaris, domestic dogs; Felis catus, domestic cats; and Mustela putorius furo, domestic ferrets, are not wildlife.

  9. All species of the following families of the order Artiodactyla. Common name: even-toed ungulates.

    1. The family Tayassuidae. Common name: peccaries.

    2. The following genera of family Cervidae:

      1. The genus Alces. Common name: moose.

      2. The genus Odocoileus. Common name: white-tailed and mule deer.

      3. The genus Cervus. Common name: red deer and wapiti, except that the species Cervus nippon, Nippon deer, is not restricted.

    3. The family Antilocapridae. Common name: pronghorn.

    4. The family Bovidae. Common names: cattle; buffalo, bison, oxen, duikers, antelopes, gazelles, goats, sheep; except that the following are not restricted:

      1. The genus Bubalus. Common name: water buffalo.

      2. The genus Bison. Common name: bison; American bison or buffalo.

      3. Capra hircus, domestic goats; Ovis aries, domestic sheep; and Bos taurus, domestic cattle, are not wildlife.

B. Birds listed below are "restricted live wildlife" as defined in R12-4-401.

  1. The following species within the family Phasianidae. Common names: partridges, grouse, turkeys, quail, and pheasants.

    1. Alectoris chukar. Common name: chukar.

    2. Callipepla californica. Common name: California, or valley quail.

    3. Callipepla gambelii. Common name: Gambel's quail.

    4. Callipepla squamata. Common name: scaled quail.

    5. Colinus virginianus. Common name: northern bobwhite. Restricted only in Units 34A, 36A, 36B, and 36C as prescribed in R12-4-108.

    6. Cyrtonyx montezumae. Common name: Montezuma or Mearn's quail.

    7. Dendragapus obscurus. Common name: blue grouse.

    8. Phasianus colchicus. Common names: ringneck and whitewing pheasants.

  2. The species Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha. Common name: thick-billed parrot.

C. Reptiles listed below are "restricted live wildlife" as defined in R12-4-401.

  1. All species of the order Crocodylia. Common names: gavials, caimans, crocodiles, alligators.

  2. The following species of the order Testudines. Common names: turtles, tortoises.

    1. All species of the family Chelydridae. Common name: snapping turtles.

    2. All species of the genera Gopherus and Xerobates of the family Testudinidae. Common name: gopher tortoises, including the desert tortoise.

  3. All species of the following families or genera of the order Squamata.

    1. The family Helodermatidae. Common names: Gila monster, Mexican beaded lizard.

    2. The family Elapidae. Common names: cobras, mambas, coral snakes, kraits, Australian elapids.

    3. The family Hydrophiidae. Common name: sea snakes.

    4. The family Viperidae. Common names: true vipers and pit vipers, including rattlesnakes.

    5. The family Atractaspidae. Common name: burrowing asps.

    6. The following species and genera of the family Colubridae:

      1. Dispholidus typus. Common name: boomslang.

      2. Thelotornis kirtlandii. Common name: bird snake or twig snake.

      3. Rhabdophis. Common names: keelbacks.

D. Amphibians listed below are "restricted live wildlife" as defined in R12-4-401.

  1. The following species within the order Anura. Common names: frogs and toads.

    1. All species of the genus Xenopus. Common name: clawed frogs.

    2. The species Bufo horribilis, Bufo marinus, Bufo paracnemis. Common names: giant or marine toads.

E. Fish listed below are "restricted live wildlife" as defined in R12-4-401.

  1. American grayling, the species Thymallus arctius.

  2. Bass, all species of the family Serranidae.

  3. Bighead carp, the species Aristichthys nobilis.

  4. Bony tongue, the species Arapaima gigas.

  5. Bowfin, the species Amia calva.

  6. Catfish, all species of the family Ictaluridae.

  7. Crucian carp, the species Carassius carassius

  8. Electric catfish, the species Malapterurus electricus.

  9. Electric eel, the species Electrophorus electricus.

  10. European whitefish or ide, the species Leuciscus idus and Idus idus.

  11. Freshwater drum, the species Aplodinotus grunniens.

  12. Freshwater stingray, all species of the family Potamotrygonidae.

  13. Gars, all species of the family Lepisosteidae.

  14. Goldeye, all species of the family Hiodontidae.

  15. Herring, all species of the family Clupeidae.

  16. Indian carp, all of the species Catla catla, Cirrhina mrigala, and Labeo rohita.

  17. Lampreys, all species of the family Petromyzontidae.

  18. Mooneye, all species of the family Hiodontidae.

  19. Nile perch, all species of the genus Lates.

  20. Pike, all species of the family Esocidae.

  21. Pike topminnow, the species Belonesox belizanus.

  22. Piranha, all species of the genera Serrasalmus, Serrasalmo, Phygocentrus, Teddyella, Rooseveltiella, and Pygopristis.

  23. Shad, all species of the family Clupeidae except threadfin shad, species Dorosoma petenense.

  24. Sharks, all species, both marine and freshwater, of the orders Hexanchiformes, Heterodontiformes, Squaliformes, Pristiophoriformes, Squatiniformes, Orectolobiformes, Lamniformes, and Carcharhiniformes.

  25. Silver carp, the species Hypophthalmichthys molitrix.

  26. Snakehead, all species of the family Ophicephalidae.

  27. South American parasitic catfish, all species of the family Trichomycteridae and Cetopsidae.

  28. Sunfish, all species of the family Centrarchidae.

  29. Tetras, all species of the genus Astyanyx.

  30. Tiger fish, the species Hoplias malabaricus.

  31. Trout, all species of the family Salmonidae.

  32. White amur, the species Ctenopharyngodon idellus.

  33. Walking catfish, all species of the family Clariidae.

  34. Walleye, the species Stizostedion vitreum.

  35. White perch, the species Morone americanus.

  36. Yellow perch, the species Perca flavescens.

  37. Rudd, the species Scardinius erythrophthalmus.

F. Crustaceans listed below are "restricted live wildlife" as defined in R12-4-401.

  1. Asiatic mitten crab, the species Eriocheir sinensis.

  2. Australian crayfish, all species of the family Parastacidae.

G. Mollusks listed below are "restricted live wildlife" as defined in R12-4-401. Zebra mussel, the species Dreissena plymorpha.

H. This rule is effective January 1, 1995.


ARIZ. COMP. ADMIN R. & REGS. R12-4-409 - General Provisions and Penalties for Special Licenses

A. The Department shall issue special licenses as defined in R12-4-401, when application is made and criteria are met as prescribed in the rule governing the specific special license. No special license for any wildlife shall be valid for any wildlife protected by federal law or regulation unless supported by federally issued documentation rendering the licensed activity lawful.

B. All special licenses expire on December 31 for the year issued unless otherwise specified in the governing rule. If application for a new special license is not made by the expiration date, live wildlife possessed pursuant to the expired license shall be considered unlawfully possessed and is subject to seizure by the Department. If application for a new special license with no change from a currently existing special license is made on or prior to the expiration date, the existing license shall remain valid while application is pending with the Department.

C. Knowingly providing false information upon application for any special license shall be grounds for denying the special license, and any special license so obtained is void and of no effect from the date of issuance thereof.

D. Denials shall be issued in writing and shall state the reason for denial. Any person whose application has been denied may appeal to the Commission as provided in R12-4-608.

E. Special license holders shall keep records and submit reports as required by the rule governing their special license. Such records shall be exhibited to any Department game ranger upon reasonable request. Failure to keep records or submit reports as required shall be grounds for rejecting an application or for revocation of a special license.

F. Facilities of special license holders are subject to reasonable inspection by a game ranger for compliance with any requirements imposed by this Article. A routine inspection shall not be considered reasonable when the game ranger has inspected another facility holding wildlife of the same class within the previous 72 hours when the game ranger had contact with the wildlife or there was reason to believe disease may have been present.

G. When a disease as determined by a person with relevant expertise or other condition constituting an emergency exists that poses an immediate threat to the welfare of wildlife, including the wildlife held pursuant to special license, or to the public, the Department may immediately order a cessation of operation under special license and, if necessary, humane disposition or quarantine of any contaminated or threatening wildlife. Disease testing must be performed as directed by the Department or wildlife quarantined must be destroyed. Any disease giving rise to an emergency condition pursuant to this subsection shall be diagnosed by a person or persons professionally certified to make such diagnosis. Once operation has ceased and an emergency no longer exists, subsection (H) shall apply.

H. When a condition exists, including disease or any violation of this Article, including any violation of Section R12-4-428, which poses a threat to the welfare of wildlife, including the wildlife held, or to the public, but which threat does not constitute an emergency, the Department shall provide the licensee a written notice of the condition, by certified mail or personal service, which notice shall specify a reasonable period of time for the licensee to cure the noticed condition. Failure of the licensee to cure the noticed condition within the time specified by the Department shall constitute a violation pursuant to subsection (I) of this rule. When a licensee receives three notices pursuant to this subsection for the same condition within a two-year period, the third notice shall be treated as a failure to cure.

I. Violation of any provision of this rule, or of A.R.S. § 13-2908, Criminal nuisance; or conviction of any criminal offense involving cruelty to animals, including A.R.S. § 13-2910; or of the rule governing a specific special license; or refusal to permit reasonable inspection of facilities, wildlife, or required records may result in any or all of the following actions by the Department:

  1. Filing of criminal charges;

  2. Suspension of authority to hold wildlife pursuant to special license for the remainder of validity of the license;

  3. Seizure of any wildlife held pursuant to the special license, and its humane disposition, except that such wildlife shall not be killed pending appeal by the licensee;

  4. Denial of subsequent application for a special license for a period not to exceed five years.

J. This rule is effective January 1, 1995.


ARIZ. COMP. ADMIN R. & REGS. R12-4-417 - Wildlife Holding License

A. The Department shall issue wildlife holding licenses to qualified individuals for the purposes provided in this Section. The wildlife holding license authorizes the person holding the license to engage in specific activities with the specific live wildlife listed on the license. The activities shall be listed on the license to be authorized and may include but not be limited to any of the following: possession, transportation, importation, educational display, exhibit, purchase, propagation, export, give away, or kill. The Department's evaluation of the applicant's proposal and qualifications and the purpose of the license will determine if the Department will issue or deny the permit and the activities the license authorizes.

B. The Department shall not issue a license to any applicant whose privilege to take or possess wildlife is under current suspension or revocation by the government of any state or the United States.

C. The Department shall issue a wildlife holding license only for the primary purposes following, when the purpose is in the best interest of the wildlife or the species, will not adversely impact other affected wildlife in Arizona, and may be served without posing a threat to wildlife or public safety:

  1. Wildlife management: gathering information valuable to maintenance of wild populations;

  2. Education;

  3. The advancement of science, or promotion of the public health or welfare;

  4. When humane treatment by a person is necessary to safeguard and protect the interests of an animal unable to meet its own needs in the wild, when it has been abandoned, or permanently disabled, or is no longer useful for any previously-existing licensed purpose.

D. The Department shall issue a wildlife holding license for the sole purpose of exhibiting live wildlife already possessed under the authority of R12-4-404 or already possessed under R12-4-417, when the wildlife may be exhibited without posing a threat to wildlife or the public and will not adversely impact other affected wildlife in Arizona.

E. Applicants for a wildlife holding license shall obtain from and submit to the Department a form providing the following information:

  1. The applicant's name, mailing address, and telephone number.

  2. If applicable, the name, address, and telephone number of the educational, scientific, or other institutional affiliation of the applicant.
     
  3. The species, or higher taxa, if appropriate, of wildlife proposed for an allowable activity.

  4. The applicant's signature.

F. Applicants for a wildlife holding license shall also submit the following with their application form:

  1. If the wildlife is currently in possession, submit evidence of lawful possession as defined in R12-4-401. If the wildlife is not yet in possession, submit proof of application for evidence of lawful possession. If the application is for exhibit of wildlife possessed under the authority of R12-4-404, provide an affidavit that the wildlife was lawfully taken under authority of a hunting or fishing license in accordance with Commission order or is the progeny of wildlife lawfully taken.

  2. The street address or legal description of the location where the wildlife is to be held and a detailed diagram of the facilities where the wildlife is to be held.

  3. A detailed description of the procedures that will be used to meet the requirements of R12-4-428.

  4. A statement of the applicant's experience in handling and providing care for the wildlife to be held or of other experience that may be relevant to handling or providing care for wildlife.

  5. The dates proposed to begin and end holding the wildlife.

  6. A statement of the planned disposition and method of disposition of the wildlife at the conclusion of the proposed activities.

  7. If the purpose of the license is for wildlife management, education, the advancement of science, or the promotion of the public health or welfare, submit a detailed description of the proposed management, educational, or scientific activity.

  8. If the purpose of the license is for humane treatment, submit a written statement explaining why the wildlife is unable to meet its own needs in the wild, whether it has been abandoned, or permanently disabled, or is no longer useful for any previously existing licensed purpose. The statement shall also specify where the wildlife is currently possessed and who possesses it.

  9. If the purpose of the license is to exhibit live wildlife already possessed under the authority of R12-4-404 or already possessed under R12-4-417, submit a detailed description of the proposed exhibit activity.

G. The Department may require that wildlife used for lawful activities under the authority of the wildlife holding license be permanently marked for identification purposes, when the Department determines this is necessary for the best interest of the public and the wildlife. If this is a requirement, it will be specified on the license.

H. The licensee shall ensure that a copy of the license accompanies any shipment of wildlife made under the authority of the license.

I. The licensee shall annually obtain from and submit to the Department a report form providing the following information within 30 days after the license expires:

  1. The licensee's name, address, and phone number;

  2. A listing of each animal held during the year, by species, including the source and date of acquisition and the place and date of disposition for each animal.

J. The licensee shall comply with R12-4-409 and R12-4-428.

K. Wildlife holding licenses expire on December 31 of the year of issuance, or, if the licensee is a representative of an institution, organization, or agency, upon termination of affiliation with that entity, whichever comes first.

L. This rule is effective January 1, 2000.


ARIZ. COMP. ADMIN R. & REGS. R12-4-425 - Restricted live wildlife lawfully possessed without license or permit prior to the effective date of Article 4

A. Any person lawfully possessing restricted live wildlife without license or permit from the Department prior to the effective date of this rule may continue to possess this wildlife and to use this wildlife for any purpose that was lawful prior to the effective date of this rule, and no special license shall be required provided:

  1. The person notifies the Department's Phoenix office in writing within 30 calendar days of the effective date of this rule of the restricted live wildlife held, including the number of individuals of each species and the purpose for which it is used; or

  2. The person maintains documentation of the restricted live wildlife held, including the number of individuals of each species and the purpose for which it is used. Documentation shall be notarized and dated within 30 calendar days of the effective date of this rule in order to be valid.

B. Written notification or documentation required in subsection (A) shall contain the name and address of the person possessing the restricted live wildlife and the location where the wildlife is held. The Department shall acknowledge receipt of notification in writing. Those persons maintaining their own documentation shall make it available for inspection upon request of a game ranger.

C. Wildlife possessed pursuant to this rule may be disposed of only by the following methods:

  1. Exportation;

  2. Within Arizona, to a holder of a special license, when that special license authorizes possession of the species involved;

  3. Euthanization;

  4. As otherwise directed by the Department.

D. This rule does not apply to desert tortoises, which are exempted pursuant to R12-4-407.


ARIZ. COMP.ADMIN R. & REGS. R12-4-426 -

Possession of Primates

A. For the purposes of this Section, the following definitions apply:

  1. "Primate" means a non-human primate not listed in subsection R12-4-406(A)(4).

  2. "Infant" means an animal weighing less than 50% of the weight of an adult as identified in "The Pictorial Guide to Living Primates", Pagonias Press 1996, and not including any later edition. This material is incorporated by reference. A copy of the incorporated material is on file with the Secretary of State and available from all Arizona Game and Fish Department regional offices.

  3. "Zoonotic" means a disease that can be transmitted to humans by vertebrate animals.

B. A person shall not buy, sell, barter, gift, or import an infant primate in Arizona.

C. A person may import a non-infant primate into Arizona only if:

  1. The primate has been tested for and reported to be disease free from any zoonotic disease that poses a serious health risk, including tuberculosis, Simian Herpes B virus, and Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, as determined by the Arizona Game and Fish Department to be appropriate to the species being imported; and

  2. Test dates and test result dates are within 30 days prior to the date of importation; and

  3. Tests were done by and test results were determined by qualified persons, as determined by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

D. A primate shall be contained within the confines of the legal owner's private property, except as follows:

  1. When transported in a cage, crate, or carrier to or from a licensed veterinarian; or

  2. When transported in a cage, crate, or carrier into or out of Arizona for lawful purposes, or within Arizona to complete a lawful sale.

E. A primate that bites, scratches, or otherwise exposes a human to pathogenic organisms as determined by the Arizona Game and Fish Department shall be examined and laboratory tested for the presence of pathogens as follows:

  1. The Arizona Game and Fish Department Director or the Director's designee shall prescribe examinations and laboratory testing for the presence of pathogens.

  2. An Arizona licensed veterinarian shall perform examinations and laboratory test specimen collection and submission.

  3. An Arizona licensed veterinarian examining or laboratory testing a primate shall immediately report the results of an examination or laboratory test, by phone and in writing, to the Arizona Game and Fish Department Director or the Director's designee.

  4. The legal owner of the primate shall pay all costs associated with the examination, laboratory testing, and maintenance of the primate.

F. A primate that tests positive for a zoonotic disease that poses a serious health risk to humans, as determined by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, shall be maintained in captivity as directed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department Director or the Director's designee, or disposed of as agreed to by the primate owner and the Department Director or the Director's designee.

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