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Illinois State Laws Governing Private Possession of Exotic Animals

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ILL. REV STAT, ch. 720, para. 585/0.1

As used in this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:

"Dangerous animal" means a lion, tiger, leopard, ocelot, jaguar, cheetah, margay, mountain lion, lynx, bobcat, jaguarundi, bear, hyena, wolf or coyote, or any poisonous or life-threatening reptile.

"Owner" means any person who (a) has a right of property in a dangerous animal, (b) keeps or harbors a dangerous animal, (c) has a dangerous animal in his care, or (d) acts as custodian of a dangerous animal.

"Person" means any individual, firm, association, partnership, corporation, or other legal entity, any public or private institution, the State of Illinois, or any municipal corporation or political subdivision of the State.


ILL. REV STAT, ch. 720, para. 585/1

No person shall have a right of property in, keep, harbor, care for, act as custodian of or maintain in his possession any dangerous animal except at a properly maintained zoological park, federally licensed exhibit, circus, scientific or educational institution, research laboratory, veterinary hospital or animal refuge in an escape-proof enclosure.


ILL. REV STAT, ch. 720, para. 585/2

It is no defense to a violation of Section 1 that the person violating such Section has attempted to domesticate the dangerous animal. If there appears to be imminent danger to the public, any dangerous animal found not in compliance with the provisions of this Act shall be subject to seizure and may immediately be placed in an approved facility. Upon the conviction of a person for a violation of Section 1, the animal with regard to which the conviction was obtained shall be confiscated and placed in an approved facility, with the owner thereof to be responsible for all costs connected with the seizure and confiscation of such animal. Approved facilities include, but are not limited to, a zoological park, federally licensed exhibit, humane society, veterinary hospital or animal refuge.


ILL. REV STAT, ch. 720, para. 585/3

Any person violating this Act shall be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor. Each day of violation constitutes a separate offense.

In the event the person violating this Act is a corporation or partnership, any officer, director, manager or managerial agent of the partnership or corporation who violates this Section or causes the partnership or corporation to violate this Section is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor.

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