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Kentucky State Laws Governing Private Possession of Exotic Animals

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• 301 KY. ADMIN. REGS. 2:082 - Transportation and holding of exotic wildlife.

Section 1. Definition. "Exotic wildlife" means terrestrial wildlife species which have never naturally existed in the wild in Kentucky including starling (Sturnus vulgaris), English or house sparrow (Passer domesticus), and Eurasian collared dove (Streptopelia decaocto).

Section 2. Prohibited Species. (1) Except as specified in subsection (3) of this section, a person shall not import or transport through Kentucky or possess in Kentucky the following:

(a) Baya weaver (Plocius phillipinus);

(b) Blackbirds (Genus Agelaius), except native species;

(c) Cape sparrow (Passer melanurus);

(d) Cowbirds (Genus Molothrus), except native species;

(e) Cuckoo (Family Cuculidae), except native species;

(f) Dioch or red-bellied quelea (Quelea quelea);

(g) European blackbird (Turdus merula);

(h) Fieldfare (Turdus pilar);

(i) Flying fox or fruit bat (Genus Pteropus);

(j) Gambian giant pouched rat (Cricetomys gambianus);

(k) Giant, marine, or cane toad (Bufo marinus);

(l) Hawaiian rice bird or spotted munia (Lonchura punctalata nisoria);

(m) Jack rabbit (Genus Lepus);

(n) Java sparrow (Padda oryzivora);

(o) Madagascar weaver (Foudia madagascariensis);

(p) Mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus);

(q) Monk or Quaker parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus);

(r) Multimammate rat (Subgenus Mastomys);

(s) Mute swan (Cygnus olor);

(t) Nutria (Myocastor coypus);

(u) Prairie dog (Cynomys spp.);

(v) Raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides);

(w) San Juan rabbit (Orytolagus cuniculus);

(x) Sky lark (Alauda arvensis);

(y) Song thrush (Turdus philomelus);

(z) Starlings (Family Stumidae) including pink startings or rosy pastors (Stumus roseus), except for Indian Hill mynahs (Graclua religiosa);

(aa) Suricate or slender-tailed meerkat (Genus Suricata);

(bb) Tongueless or African clawed frog (Aenopus laevis);

(cc) Weaver finches (Genus Passer), except Passer domesticus;

(dd) White eyes (Genus Zosterops);

(ee) Wild European rabbit (also called the San Juan Rabbit) not distinguishable morphologically from native wild rabbits;

(ff) Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella);

(gg) A member of the following families:

  1. Suidae (pigs or hogs), except for domestic swine;
  2. Viverridae (civits, genets, lingsangs, mongooses and fossas);
  3. Tayassuidae (peccaries and javelinas).

(2) Prohibited inherently-dangerous wildlife. Except as specified in subsections (3) and (5) of this section, a person shall not import or or possess in Kentucky the following:

(a) Adders or vipers (Family Viperidae and Crotalidae) (except native species);

(b) Alligators or caimans (Family Alligatoridae);

(c) African buffalo (Syncerus caffer);

(d) Bears (Family Ursidae);

(e) Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus);

(f) Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa);

(g) Cobras mambas or coral snakes (Family Elapidae);

(h) Crocodiles (Family Crocodylidae);

(i) Elephants (Family Elephantidae);

(j) Gavials (Family Gavialidae);

(k) Gila monsters or beaded lizards (Family Helodermatidae);

(l) Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius);

(m) Honey badger or ratel (Mellivora campensis);

(n) Hyenas (Family Hyaenidae), all species except aardwolves (Proteles cristatus);

(o) Lions, jaguars, leopards or tigers (Genus Panthera);

(p) Old world badger (Meles meles);

(q) Primates nonhuman (Order Primates);

(r) Rhinoceroses (Family Rhinocerotidae);

(s) Sea snakes (Family Hydrophidae);

(t) Snow leopard (Uncia uncia);

(u) Venomous rear-fanged species (Family Colubridae) except hognose snakes (Genus Heterodon);

(v) Wolverine (Gulo gulo); or

(w) Hybrids of all species contained in this list.

(3) Upon written request, the commissioner may authorize the importation or possession of the species listed in this section by circuses or for legitimate-scientific or educational purposes by:

(a) A zoo or facility that is:

  1. Accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association ("AZA"); or
  2. Designated as the official zoo of a municipality.

(b) A government agency;

(c) A college or university;

(d) A licensed or accredited educational or research institution; or

(e) A lawfully operated circus or rodeo; or

(f) A person or organization requesting exemption for medical purposes.

(4) A person may temporarily transport or display a prohibited animal listed in this section through the state for less than ninety-six (96) hours if at all times the animal is maintained within a confinement sufficient to prevent the animal from escaping.

(5) Possession of an inherently-dangerous animal prior to the effective date of the amendment to this administrative regulation.

(a) A person who legally possesses an inherently-dangerous animal as defined in subsection 2 of this section prior to the effective date of the amendment to this administrative regulation may possess the animal.

(b) The person shall maintain:

  1. Veterinary records;
  2. Acquisition papers for the animal; or
  3. Any other documents that establishes that the person possessed the animal prior to the effective date of the amendment to this administrative regulation.

(c) A legally-possessed inherently-dangerous animal shall not be bred by a person who does not have an exemption as established in Section 2(3) of this administrative regulation.

(d) A legally-possessed inherently-dangerous animal shall not be replaced by a person who does not have an exemption as established in Section 2(3) of this administrative regulation.

(6) If any inherently-dangerous animal escapes, either intentionally or unintentionally, the owner of the animal shall immediately contact the department to report the escape or release.

Section 3. Exotic Wildlife. Unless listed in Section 2(1) of this administrative regulation, or otherwise protected by state or federal law, exotic wildlife shall not:

(1) Be classified as protected wildlife; and

(2) Require a permit from the department for possession.

Section 4. Transportation Permits and Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. (1) Prior to entry into Kentucky, an annual or individual transportation permit as established in 301 KAR 2:081 shall be obtained for all shipments of wildlife. Persons shall be responsible for applying for a transportation permit who:

(a) Receive a shipment of wildlife;

(b) Import wildlife for their own use or possession; or

(c) Transport wildlife into and through the state to a destination outside Kentucky;

(2) A copy of a valid transportation permit shall accompany all shipments of wildlife into Kentucky.

(a) Individual transportation permits shall be valid for one (1) shipment of wildlife.

(b) Annual transportation permits shall be valid for multiple wildlife shipments for one (1) year from the date of issue. Annual transportation permit holders shall:

  1. Notify the department in writing of any changes or additions subsequent to the original application so that an amended permit may be issued prior to subsequent wildlife importation; and
  2. Notify the department by telephone Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to each shipment of wildlife of the date of expected shipment; source of the shipment; and the species being shipped.

(3) All shipments of wildlife shall be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection stating that the wildlife is free of symptoms of disease. A federal quarantine certificate may be substituted for the certificate of veterinary inspection.

Section 5. The following animals shall not require permits from the department for importation:

(1) Alpaca (Lama pacos);

(2) American bison (Bison bison);

(3) Breeds and varieties of goats derived from the wild goat or bezoar (Capra aegagrus);

(4) Camels (Camelus bactrianus and Camelus dromedarius);

(5) Chinchillas (Chinchilla laniger);

(6) Cockatoos (family Cacatuidae);

(7) Domesticated races of ducks and geese (family Anatidae) distinguishable morphologically from wild ducks or geese;

(8) Domesticated races of the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) distinguishable morphologically from wild rabbits;

(9) Domesticated races of mink (Mustela vison), if:

(a) Adults are heavier than 1.15 kilograms; or

(b) The fur color can be distinguished from wild mink;

(10) Domestic swine, except free-roaming or feral wild boars or wild swine;

(11) Domesticated races of rats (Rattus norvegicus or Rattus rattus) or mice (Mus musculus);

(12) Domesticated races of turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) recognized by the American Poultry Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture; but shall not include captive held or bred wild turkeys;

(13) Domestic yak (Bos grunniens);

(14) Gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus);

(15) Guinea fowl (Mumida megeagris);

(16) Guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus);

(17) Hamsters (Mesocricetus spp.);

(18) Indian Hill mynahs (Graclua religiosa);

(19) Llama (Lama glama);

(20) Parrots, lovebirds, cockatiels, budgerigar, parakeets (except monk parakeet (M. monachus), macaws (family Psittacidae);

(21) Peafowl (Pavo cristatus);

(22) Pigeons (Columba domestica or Columba livia) or domesticated races of pigeons;

(23) Ratites, as defined by KRS 247.870; and

(24) Toucans (family Rhamphastidae);

Section 6. Applying for Permits. (1) All applications for transportation permits shall be made on standard forms.

(2) The applicant shall indicate the source of supply of the wildlife.

(3) After the permit is issued, the permit holder shall retain a bill of sale or other written proof to show that the wildlife was obtained from a legal source.

(4) A permit holder shall show this written proof to a conservation officer upon request.

(5) Applicants shall possess an approved permit before acquiring animals.

(6) Failure to provide accurate, truthful and complete information on the application form shall result in:

(a) Immediate withdrawal or revocation of the permit; and

(b) Confiscation of the wildlife imported under the permit.

Section 7. Endangered Species. A permit shall not be issued for the transportation or possession of federally endangered or threatened species without obtaining prior approval from the commissioner. The commissioner may grant approval for legitimate scientific or educational purposes for:

(1) A zoo that is:

(a) Accredited the American Zoo and Aquarium Association; or
(b) Designated as the official zoo of a municipality;

(2) A government agency;

(3) A college or university; or

(4) A similar educational or research institution.

Section 8. Inspections. A person holding exotic wildlife shall allow a conservation officer to inspect the holding facilities at any reasonable time.

Section 9. Release. With the exception of pheasants and chukars, a person shall not release exotic wildlife into the wild.

Section 10. Incorporation by Reference. (1) The following material is incorporated by reference:

(a) "Annual Transportation Permit Application, July 2003 edition"; and

(b) "Individual Transportation Permit Application, July 2003 edition."

(2) This material may be inspected, copied, or obtained, subject to applicable copyright law, at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, #1 Game Farm Road, Frankfort, Kentucky, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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