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Summary of State Laws Relating to Exhibiting Exotic Animals

Note: This summary only applies to exhibition of exotic animals other than at circuses. Please see our Bans on Circus Acts for a complete listing of state laws relating to circuses and public contact with circus animals. If you have any questions please contact legislation@bornfreeusa.org at Born Free USA united with API at 916-447-3085.


Category: LR

Regulations: The Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources may grant a permit to a person qualified by education or experience in the care of wildlife to exhibit animals. Permit fee is $25.00.1

Specific care requirements exist for exhibited captive wild animals.2

Citation: 1ALA. CODE §9-11-324

2ALA. CODE §9-11-325, §9-11-320 - §9-11-324


Category: LR, N

Regulations: The Commission of Fish and Game may issue a permit to possess, import, or export an elephant to a person who intends to exhibit the animal commercially.1

Permits are required for temporary commercial use of live game animals. Commercial use means use of imported game for a circus, for a traveling show, or for film production; this does not include the display or exhibition of game for the primary purpose of drawing the public to a commercial business.2

Citation: 1ALASKA STAT. §16.40.060

2ALASKA ADMIN. CODE tit. 5 §92.035


Category: LR, F

Regulations: A zoo license is required to exhibit, conduct an educational display, import, purchase, export, possess, propagate, euthanize, transport, give away, offer for sale, or sale or trade restricted live wildlife and other Arizona wildlife legally possessed in the state, subject to restrictions. A license is not required when restricted wildlife is transported to or from temporary exhibits. Temporary exhibits shall not exceed 20 consecutive days at any one location. The following criteria are prerequisites for approval of a zoo license: 1. Arizona Game and Fish Department shall ensure that the operation meets the definition of "zoo" at A.R.S. § 17-101(A)(23), 2. applicant shall submit with the application proof of current licensing by USDA under the Animal Welfare Act, 3. Department shall ensure that the issuance of a license is for a purpose in the best interest of the wildlife or species to be held, does not adversely impact upon any other wildlife in Arizona, and does not pose a threat to wildlife or public safety.1

A person can also apply for a wildlife holding license that allows exhibition -- as long as the wildlife does not pose a threat to Arizona.2

Citation: 1ARIZ. ADMIN CODE R12-4-420



Category: N, F

Regulations: A person must have a veterinary certificate of health and an entry permit for exhibition of livestock, poultry, and exotic animals entering the state.1

Entry permits are required on all swine, zoo, fur-bearing and other wild and/or exotic animals, ratites, camelids, cervids, passerine birds, psittacine birds, and all other avian except poultry entering the State of Arkansas.2

It shall be unlawful to hold captive, confine, enclose, or otherwise possess alive in the State of Arkansas any fur-bearing animal, game animal, game bird, game fish, or other wildlife, whether native or non-native, migratory, or imported, unless authorized or excepted as specified herein. An exception is made for individuals or organizations in possession of a USDA licensed exhibitor and/or rehabilitation permit.3

Citation: 112500 CARR 007

212500 CARR 001

3002 00 CARR 001 (15.01)


Category: LR

Regulations: A person must obtain an exhibitor permit to display live restricted wild animals as defined under § 2118 and corresponding regulations. An exhibitor permit can be obtained by a resident or a non-resident for commercial exhibition purposes. To qualify for an exhibitor permit the applicant must be 18 years old with 2 years' full-time experience caring for the restricted species.1

Specific caging requirements exist for exhibited captive wild animals.2

Citation: 1CAL. CODE REGS. Tit. 14 §671.1(b)(2)

2CAL. CODE REGS. Tit. 14§ 671.3


Category: LR

Regulations: Requires a license for a "wildlife exhibitors park." This is issued for the exhibition of live wildlife (except birds) for educational or promotional activities. Wildlife Exhibitors Park licenses are renewable annually, expire on December 31 of each year, and cost $100.1

Exhibition of animals in the families Felidae, Ursidae or Canidae outside the licensed Wildlife Exhibitors Park premises is prohibited except under the following conditions: 1. Animals must be caged at all times, except as provided in 1104 (A)(2)(a). Cages must be made from a minimum of 9 gauge wire, completely enclosed, including a top and a bottom and shall be large enough to allow the animal being caged to stand up and turn around. 2. Animals may be exhibited out of cage only when the exhibitor is covered by a current and in-force insurance policy in the face amount of no less than $500,000 coverage for general liability. Copies of the liability insurance policy shall be forwarded to the Special License Unit of the Division prior to the scheduled event. 3. Animals must remain caged during any exhibition in any educational institution, and 4. All incidents involving exhibited wildlife where injury to wildlife or people occurs must be reported to the Special Licensing Unit within 24 hours.2

Specific caging requirements exist for exhibited captive wild animals.3

Citation: 12 COLO. CODE REGS. §406-6 (1104)

22 COLO. CODE REGS. §406-6 (1104)

32 COLO. CODE REGS. §406-6 (1108)


Category: N

Regulations: Possession laws only.


Category: LR

Regulations: The Department of Agriculture shall enforce this chapter and may issue a permit where the possession or exhibition of a live wild mammal or hybrid of a wild mammal or live reptile will be in the public interest, and may promulgate rules and regulations for the proper enforcement of this chapter. The Department shall receive a fee of $25 for each and every permit issued.1

To obtain an exhibition permit the individual must: 1. meet specific enclosure requirements for the animals, 2 be inspected at will, 3. comply with treatment standards, and 4. avoid declaring the animal a public nuisance.2

When wild animals are kept for resale or exhibit, or for medical or psychological research, the custodian of the animal shall apply to the Department of Agriculture on forms provided by the Department for a class permit for each class of wild animals kept. Applicants may be granted permits for the following classes of wild animals: (1) Reptiles; (2) Primates; (3) Herbivores; (4) Carnivores; and (5) Omnivores.3

Citation: 1DEL. CODE ANN. tit 3, § 7202>

2CDR 13-100-012

3CDR 13-100-012 §4.02

District of Columbia

Category: F, L

Regulations: No person shall import into the District, possess, display, offer for sale, trade, barter, exchange, adopt, or give 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). But this section shall not apply to federally licensed animal exhibitors; however, the Mayor retains the authority to restrict the movement of any prohibited animal into the District and the conditions under which those movements are made.1

To keep 5 or more mammals larger than a guinea pig and over the age of 4 months, an Animal Hobby Permit is Required -- but this permit is not required for a traveling exhibition.2

Citation: 1D.C. CODE § 6-1008

2D.C. CODE § 6-1009


Category: LR

Regulations: No person, firm, corporation, or association shall have, or be in possession of, in captivity for the purpose of public display with or without charge or for public sale any wildlife, specifically birds, mammals, and reptiles, whether indigenous to Florida or not, without having first secured a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission authorizing such person, firm, or corporation to have in its possession in captivity the species and number of wildlife specified within such permit. However, this section does not apply to any wildlife not protected by law and the regulations of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, traveling zoos, or circuses. 1

Specific caging requirements exist for exhibited captive wild animals.2

Captive wild animals are in three categories (I, II, III).3

Citation: 1FLA. STAT. ANN. 372.921

2FLA. ADMIN CODE ANN. r. 68A-6.0023

3FLA. ADMIN CODE ANN. r. 68A-6.002


Category: LR

Regulations: It shall be unlawful for any person to keep, hold, or possess any wildlife in captivity for the purpose of display or exhibition to the public without first obtaining a valid wildlife exhibition permit. A permit will be issued if the display or exhibition is for educational purposes only. However, exhibitions by educational institutions, state, city, county or municipal zoos, or transient circuses are exempt.1

To qualify for a permit the facilities must be open 30 hrs/wk 6 months a year. Specific caging requirements exist for exhibited captive wildlife.2

Citation: 1GA. CODE ANN. §27-2-13>

2GA. CODE ANN. §27-5-5, §27-5-6


Category: N

Laws regarding the importation of animals into Hawaii only.


Category: LR, F

Regulations: No person shall operate or maintain a commercial wildlife facility without obtaining the proper facility licenses from the Department of Fish and Game. A "commercial wildlife facility" is any facility where the operator obtains, possesses, or propagates wildlife for any commercial purpose, including exhibition, education, entertainment, or sale. "Wildlife" means any form of animal life, native or exotic, generally living in a state of nature provided that domestic cervidae as defined in section 25-3701, Idaho Code, shall not be classified as wildlife. In addition, no person shall maintain a wildlife facility without first obtaining certification from the relevant city or county zoning and planning commissions that such establishment is in compliance with all existing county ordinances. In addition, all such persons must obtain certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they are in compliance with federal laws.1

Specific caging and treatment requirements exist for exhibited captive wild animals.2

Citation: 1IDAPA,



Category: A, F

Regulations: One may display a dangerous animal 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. Dangerous animal means a lion, tiger, leopard, ocelot, jaguar, cheetah, margay, mountain lion, lynx, bobcat, jaguarundi, bear, hyena, wolf, coyote, or any poisonous life-threatening reptile.1

Persons wishing to display endangered or threatened animals can if they have a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit pursuant to the Endangered Species Act or an exhibitor permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture permit or the person can apply for a permit for zoological purposes. Must meet the facility requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act.2

Citation: 1720 ILL. COMP. STAT. 585/1, 720 ILL. COMP. STAT. 585/0.1>

2ILL. ADMIN. CODE tit. 17, §1070.30


Category: A, F

Regulations: A wild animal is exempt from state permitting requirements if the possessor of the wild animal is a zoo, carnival, menagerie, animal dealer, pet shop, circus, or nature centered and licensed under the federal Animal Welfare Act. All persons not possessing a federal Animal Welfare Act license are prohibited from publicly displaying wild animals.

Citation: IND. ADMIN. CODE tit 312, r. 9-10-20; r. 9-11-14


Category: O

Regulations: No state laws governing exhibition of animals.


A, L

Regulations: A scientific, educational or exhibition permit is required to collect, for scientific, educational or exhibition purposes, any wildlife protected by law. Persons wishing to exhibit must obtain an exhibition permit for $10.00. Wildlife importation permits may be issued for the purposes of display for animals such as Monk parakeet and Asian raccoon dog, catfish, and carp.

Citation: KAN. ADMIN. REGS 115-2-1, 115-18-10


Category: O, N

Regulations: A city may impose a license by ordinance for exhibiting any animal within city borders.1

Possession laws only.2

Citation: 1KY. REV. STAT. ANN. § 91.200



Category: L

Regulations: Requires a nongame quadruped Exhibitor License to exhibit. Nongame quadrupeds are alligators, beavers, bobcats, coyotes, grey foxes, minks, muskrats, nutrias, opossums, otters, raccoons, red foxes, skunks and other wild quadrupeds valuable for their furs or skin.1

No person may engage in the business of raising or exhibiting or otherwise possessing fox or coyotes for the purpose of operating a fox/coyote hunting preserve unless he or she has acquired and possesses a valid non-game quadruped breeder or Exhibitor License.2

Citation: 1LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 76, §113B

2LA. ADMIN. CODE tit. 76, §113D


Category: LR

Regulations: A person must obtain a permit to take alive, possess or import any native or exotic wildlife for purposes of exhibition. "Wildlife" means any species of the animal kingdom, except fish, which is wild by nature, whether or not bred or reared in captivity, and includes any part, egg or offspring thereof, or the dead body or parts thereof. Wildlife includes wild animals and wild birds.1

There are specific regulations for wildlife in captivity relating to caging, health and comfort, and permit procedures.2

Possession of primates is not permitted under this rule. Person may possess primates for purposes of therapeutic, emotional, or handicapped aid only.3

Citation: 1ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 12, §7235-C

2CODE ME. R. 09-137-007

3CODE ME. R. 09-137-007 § 7.33


Category: A, F

Regulations: Prohibitions on importation, selling, trading, purchasing, bartering, breeding, raising, keeping, or possessing any animals found to be dangerous to human health and safety do not apply to animals used in public exhibitions. Importation and Possession permits generally are required unless the wildlife is to be used for exhibitions.1

Animals such as fox, skunk, raccoon, bear, alligator, crocodile, member of cat family other then domestic cat and any poisonous snake are prohibited from being imported, but a person may offer these animals for sale to a person holding a valid federal or state permit for exhibition purposes.2

Citation: 1MD. CODE ANN., NAT. RES. §18-219, MD. REGS. CODE tit. 08.03.09, §04(D(2)



Category: B, L

Regulations: Prohibits the exhibition of wild animals in any place of amusement, recreation or entertainment. This section does not apply to the exhibition of a wild animal at a circus, zoological garden, theatrical exhibition, educational institution or wild animal farm. A wild animal farm means the commercial propagation of protected animals for sale other than sale as pets, which shall be issued only for those species listed in 321 CMR 212(11), such as fallow deer, bison, reindeer, arctic fox, emus, ostriches, etc.1

A temporary possession permit is required to temporarily possess animals in Massachusetts and must list the date of their removal. Also a temporary possession permit can be issued to a wild animal farm or zoo to exhibit animals off the premises.2

Citation: 1MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 272, §77B

2MASS. REGS. CODE tit. 321, §2.12 (13)


Category: L

Regulations: The Department of Agriculture may issue permits for the public exhibition of animals. Within this section, exhibition and exhibitor are not defined. But under the Animal Industry Act of 1987, exhibition and exhibitor appear to refer to livestock.

Citation: MICH. COMP. LAWS §324.401114, MICH. COMP. LAWS §287.703


Category: LR

Regulations: A person displaying captive wildlife must obtain a permit from the Commissioner of Natural Resources. A permit will be issued after the premises are inspected and the applicant agrees or complies with standards for wildlife exhibits. Wildlife is defined as any wild mammal, wild bird, reptile or amphibian.1

Specific rules regulate knowledge and background of caretakers, veterinarian visits, living conditions, feeding, etc.2

Citation: 1MINN. R. 6244.2500, MINN. STAT. §97A.041

2MINN. R. §6244.2100 et seq.


Category: N

Regulations: Possession laws and public contact laws only.


Category: N

Regulations: Possession laws only.


Category: LR, F

Regulations: A person must obtain a permit to operate a roadside menagerie or a wild animal menagerie. The annual permit fee for a roadside or wild animal menagerie is $10 for 5 or fewer animals and $25 for more than 5 animals. A federal permit to exhibit wild animals is required. "Roadside menagerie" means any place where one or more wild animals, including birds, reptiles, and the like, are kept in captivity for the evident purpose of exhibition or attracting trade, on or off the facility premises. It does not include the exhibition of any animal by an educational institution or by a traveling theatrical exhibition or circus based outside Montana. "Wild animal menagerie" means any place where one or more bears or large cats, including cougars, lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, pumas, cheetahs, ocelots, and hybrids of those large cats are kept in captivity for use other than public exhibition.1

Specific roadside menagerie regulations relate to the display, housing, feeding, and treatment of the animals. Also, there are insurance and record-keeping requirements.2

It is unlawful to obtain wild animals for a roadside or wild animal menageries by capture from the wild or by purchase except as authorized by the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks in accordance with the terms of a permit.3

Citation: 1MONT. CODE ANN. §87-4-801, §87-4-803

2MONT. ADMIN R. 12.6.1301 -13.08

3MONT. CODE ANN. §87-4-804


Category: N

Regulations: Possession laws only.


Category: F, L

Regulations: A person who holds an exhibitor's license issued by the APHIS of the USDA may exhibit in this state wildlife listed in the license, for not more than 90 days, without obtaining any license or permit issued by the Division of Wildlife of the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the possession, transportation, importation or exportation of that wildlife. A commercial license for captive wildlife does not appear to restrict exhibition of animals. But a non-commercial license does not allow public display of the wildlife.

Citation: NEV. ADMIN. CODE ch. 504, §504.486

New Hampshire

Category: LR

Regulations: No person shall import, possess, sell, exhibit, or release any live marine species or wildlife, or the eggs or progeny thereof, without first obtaining a permit except as permitted under title XVIII.1

A permit to exhibit wildlife shall be required for any person offering wildlife for exhibition. The applicant must have 2000 hours of paid experience in animal husbandry with or as a licensed wildlife exhibitor. No permanent exhibit shall be located nearer than 100 feet from the centerline of any highway, road or street. The fee for permit for a fixed facility is $100.2

Citation: 1N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 207:14

2N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. ANN. Fis 810.01; 810.02; and 810.07

New Jersey

Category: b, L

Regulations: No persons may own, operate, manage or conduct a roadside stand or market for the sale of merchandise along a public street or highway; or a shopping mall, or a part of the premises thereof; and keep a living animal or creature confined, or allowed to roam in an area whether or not the area is enclosed, on these premises as an exhibit. However, this does not apply to a pet shop licensed pursuant to P.L.1941, c. 151 (C.4:19-15.1 et seq.); a person who keeps an animal, in a humane manner, for the purpose of the protection of the premises; or a recognized breeders' association, a 4-H club, an educational agricultural program, an equestrian team, a humane society or other similar charitable or nonprofit organization conducting an exhibition, show or performance.1

No person may keep or exhibit a wild animal at a roadside stand or market located along a public street or highway; a gasoline station; or a shopping mall, or a part of the premises thereof.2

For all other types of exhibits, persons must obtain an animal exhibitor permit ($35.00) which is issued to exhibitors of exotic mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians or nongame species other than zoos. Traveling exhibits, small exhibitions not qualifying as zoos, and circuses are included, including importation, exportation, and sale of species listed in the permit.3

Citation: 1N.J. STAT. §4:22-26(m)

2N.J. STAT. §4:22-26(n)

3N.J. ADMIN. CODE tit. 7:25-4.6

New Mexico

Category: N

Regulations: Possession laws only.

New York

Category: L

Regulations: The Department of Environmental Conservation may issue to any person a license revocable at its pleasure to collect or possess fish, wildlife, shellfish, crustacea, aquatic insects, birds' nests or eggs for propagation, banding, scientific or exhibition purposes. The Department of Environmental Conservation in its discretion may require an applicant to pay a license fee of $10.00, to submit written testimonials from two well-known persons and to file a bond of $200.00 to be approved by the Department of Environmental Conservation that he will not violate any provisions of this article. Each licensee shall file on or before February 1 a report of his operations during the preceding calendar year.1

Exhibition means regular public display or showing of fish, wildlife or parts thereof or products made there from where the display itself is the chief object. A license or permit authorizing possession for exhibition purposes may permit exhibition with the intention or expectation of receiving monetary gain.2

Citation: 1N.Y. ENVTL. CONSERV § 11-0515

2N.Y. COMP. CODES R. & REGS. tit. 6 § 175.2

North Carolina

Category: N

Regulations: Possession laws only.

North Dakota

Category: LR, F

Regulations: Persons displaying and possessing nontraditional livestock must obtain an import permit; a nontraditional livestock license; and a certificate from a veterinarian. Nontraditional livestock refers to wildlife held in a cage, fence, enclosure, or other manmade means of confinement that limits movement within definite boundaries. This includes species that are considered inherently dangerous, including bears, wolves, wolf hybrids, primates, all non-domesticated cats except Canadian [sic] lynx, and bobcat (category 4 animals).1

The nontraditional livestock may not be displayed in any manner as to endanger the health and safety of the public or the nontraditional livestock. Persons required to have licenses for nontraditional livestock must meet the welfare and housing and handling standards. Persons in possession of a valid license from the USDA, issued pursuant to the Animal Welfare Act do not have to meet the animal welfare requirements.2

Specific housing requirements exist for primates, wolves, and wolf hybrids.3

Citation: 1N.D. ADMIN. CODE §48-12-01-03

2N.D. ADMIN. CODE §48-12-01-15

3N.D. ADMIN. CODE §48-12-02-03


Category: O

Regulations: A municipal corporation may license exhibitors displaying animals. The municipal corporation may, in granting such license, charge such fee as is reasonable. The legislative authority of such municipal corporation may delegate to the mayor of the municipal corporation the authority to grant, issue, and revoke licenses.

OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 715.63


Category: L

Regulations: Except as otherwise provided for in this title, no person may breed, possess or raise native wildlife, except fish, amphibians, aquatic reptiles, aquatic invertebrates or exotic livestock, for commercial purposes without having first procured a license. Without exception, any person shall be licensed under this section who keeps or maintains on premises any bear or cat that will grow to reach the weight of fifty (50) pounds or more and shall at all times keep such wildlife confined, controlled and restrained in such manner so the life, limb or property of any person lawfully entering such premises shall not be endangered.

Citation: OKLA. STAT. Tit, 29. § 4-107


Category: F, LR

Regulations: Permits are required to keep exotic animals for exhibition, However, if a facility is operating under a valid license or registration issued by the USDA pursuant to the federal Animal Welfare Act then the requirements for a permit shall not apply. General Requirements are given for Indoor and Outdoor facilities. Exotic animal is defined as any lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, ocelot, monkey, ape, gorilla, or other non-human primate, wolf or canine not indigenous to Oregon, and bear (except black bear).

Citation: OR. REV. STAT §609.315 and §609.305


Category: LR

Regulations: Persons must obtain a permit to operate a menagerie. Menagerie is any place where one or more wild birds or wild animals or one or more birds or animals which have similar characteristics and appearance to birds or animals wild by nature are kept in captivity for the evident purpose for exhibition with or without charge. However, AZA-accredited zoos and circuses do not have to obtain permits.1

In order to import an animal into a menagerie a person must obtain an importation permit.2

The permitee must comply with specific care, treatment, housing, and cage regulations.3

Citation: 134 PA. CONS. STAT. ANN. §2901; 2961, 2964, 2965

258 PA. CODE §137.1 (d)(2)

358 PA. CODE §147.281 et seq.

Rhode Island

Category: LR

Regulations: Persons must obtain a permit to import into, receive, or possess for exhibition purposes exotic animals. Exotic animals include the following orders, families, and genera: primates, carnivores, amphibia, reptilia, canidae, and insecta.1

Specific application requirements for the permit include a detailed written description of the housing, nutritional, and exercise needs.2

Citation: 1R.I. GEN. LAWS §4-18-3, R.I. CODE R. 12-020-030 (2002) §3.01

2R.I. CODE R. 12-020-030

South Carolina

Category: b, L

Regulations: It is unlawful to exhibit a marine animal in South Carolina.1

It is unlawful for a person to import, possess, or transport for the purpose of release or to introduce or bring into this State any wildlife indigenous to the state without a permit from the department. However, wildlife indigenous to the state which are imported for exhibition purposes by state wildlife departments, municipal zoos or parks, public museums, public zoological parks, and public scientific or educational institutions operated not for profit, and transient circuses are not required to procure a permit.2

Citation: 1S.C. CODE ANN. §50-5-2310

2S.C. CODE ANN. §50-16-20, §50-16-40

South Dakota

Category: LR

Regulations: A zoo permit is required to possess a non-domestic animal. A non-domestic animal is defined as any mammal, or any hybrids thereof of the following orders: Carnivora (Felidae - non-domestic; Canidae - non-domestic; Ursidae - bears; Mustelidae, and Hyaenidae); Artiodactyla (hoofed animals); Perissodactyla (Tapiridae and Rhinocerotidae), and Proboscidea (elephants). A zoo permit may be issued to non-profit exhibitors of non-domestic mammals. A zoo permit allows for the possession of any class of non-domestic mammals. The South Dakota Animal Industry Board can approve a zoo permit if it finds that the facilities are adequate for confinement.1

Specifically prohibited non-domestic mammals of the family Suidae (all species) and Canidae (only raccoon dog) may be possessed by holders of a zoo permit or a temporary permit.2

Citation: 1S.D. ADMIN. R. 12:68:18:03; 12:68:18:03:03. & 12:68:12:01

2S.D. ADMIN. R. §12:68:18:03.01


Category: LR

Regulations: No person may exhibit Class I wildlife without obtaining a permit. A permit for a permanent exhibitor is $500 a year and for a temporary exhibitor $300 for a 30-day period. Class I wildlife includes the following orders: Primates (gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, gibbons, siamangs, mandrills, drills, baboons, Gelada baboons only); Carnivores (all wolves, all bears, lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, cougars); Proboscidia (all elephants); Perissodactyla (all rhinoceroses); Artiodactyla (all hippos and African buffaloes); Crocodylia (crocodiles and alligators); Serpentes (all poisonous snakes); and Amphibians (all poisonous species). To exhibit Class I wildlife, an applicant must be 21, and have two years of experience, appropriate facilities, and a recapture plan.1

Specific housing and transportation requirements exist for class I wildlife.2

Specific requirements exist for exhibiting Class I animals including public access and caging design to avoid escape.3

Citation: 1TENN. CODE ANN. §70-4-402, §7-4-403, §70-4-404

2TENN. CODE ANN. §70-4-405

3TENN. COMP. R. & REGS. R. 1660-1-18-.04


Category: LR

Regulations: A person must obtain an educational display permit or a zoological permit to exhibit animals to the public. To be granted one of these permits, facilities must meet the facility standards set forth in §69.305 and meet the requirements to obtain a permit set forth in §69.303.1

No person may possess a dangerous wild animal without first obtaining a license (certificate of registration) from the local animal control authority. Dangerous wild animals are defined as lions, tigers, ocelots, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, bobcats, lynxes, servals, caracals, hyenas, bears, coyotes, jackals, baboons, chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas, or any hybrids of the animals listed. However, there are no permit requirements for a person possessing all other animal not listed above, such as monkeys, wolves etc., unless local law requires otherwise. There are no exceptions for people with a federal USDA license.2

Citation: 131 TEX. ADMIN. CODE § 69.302, §69.303, § 69.304, §69.305

2TEX. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE ANN § 822.101 - 116


Category: LR

Regulations: After obtaining a certificate of registration, an entry permit, and a certificate of veterinary health, a person may import and subsequently possess any species or subspecies of live zoological animals classified as controlled. Controlled species are species or subspecies of zoological animal that may pose a threat of disease or other ecological, environmental, or human health or safety risk. A certificate of registration is not required to import and subsequently possess any species or subspecies of live zoological animals classified as noncontrolled. "Commercial use" means any activity through which a person in possession of a zoological animal expects to recover all or any part of the cost of keeping the zoological animal through selling, bartering, trading, exchanging, breeding, or other use, including displaying the zoological animal for entertainment, advertisement, or business promotion.1

Any zoological animal shall be maintained under humane and healthy conditions, including humane handling, care, confinement, transportation, feeding, as provided in the federal Animal Welfare Act.2

Citation: 1UTAH ADMIN CODE R657-3-28, R657-3-4



Category: L

Regulations: A person wishing to exhibit living animals must obtain the permission of the Selectman of the town/city.1

In addition, persons must obtain a license from the state to possess exotic animals for exhibition and educational purposes.2

Citation: 1VT. STAT. ANN. Tit. 31, §404

2VT. STAT. ANN. Tit. 10, §4709


Category: F, L

Regulations: Persons may possess nonnative exotic animals that are classified as predatory or undesirable for exhibition purposes if they obtain a special permit. Exhibitors registered by the USDA under the Animal Welfare Act will be deemed permitted to exhibit in the state provided that they notify the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries of the import and possession of the animals and, as such, will not have to obtain the special permit from the state.1

Where an exhibit is education and purposeful in nature, wild animals may be exhibited with a permit. Wild animal means any member of the animal kingdom, except domestic animals, including without limitation any native, naturalized, or nonnative (exotic) mammal, fish, bird, amphibian, reptile, mollusk, crustacean, arthropod or other invertebrate, and includes any hybrid of them, except as otherwise specified in regulations of the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries.2

Citation: 14 VA. ADMIN CODE § 15-30-40

24 VA. ADMIN CODE §15-290-60, §15-20-50


Category: O

Regulations: The city council of each city shall have power and authority to prohibit or suppress, or to license and regulate any exhibition or show of any animal or animals.

Citation: WASH. ADMIN. CODE § 35.23.440

West Virginia

Category: LR

Regulations: The Director of the Division of Natural Resources may issue a permit for the keeping and maintaining in captivity of wild animals, wild birds, amphibians or reptiles at a roadside menagerie. A permit shall not be issued unless: the animals, birds, amphibians or reptiles have been purchased from a licensed commercial dealer, either within or without the State, or have been taken legally; or the director is satisfied that provisions for housing and care of wildlife to be kept in captivity and for the protection of the public are proper and adequate. A roadside menagerie means any place of business, other than commercial game farm, commercial fish preserve, place or pond, where any wild bird, game bird, unprotected bird, game animal or fur-bearing animal is kept in confinement for the attraction and amusement of the people for commercial purposes.

Citation: W. VA. CODE § 20-1-2, §20-2-52.


Category: LR

Regulations: No person may maintain a wildlife exhibit, unless the person has a wildlife exhibit license. A wildlife exhibit means any place where live wild animals are kept in captivity for the purpose of exhibition or for advertising purposes, but does not include the exhibition of any live wild animal by any educational institution, state agency, public zoo, park or garden, circus or theatrical exhibition or any exhibition sponsored by any organization with the approval of the Department of Natural Resources. Prior to obtaining a license the departments must be satisfied that the provisions for care of the wild animals and for protecting the public are adequate.1

The administrative code has very specific caging requirements, licensing, treatment and sanitation for exhibited animals.2

Citation: 1WIS. STAT. § 29.877, §29.789



Category: L

Regulations: The commission can regulate or prohibit the importation of exotic species, small game animals, forbearing animals, protected animals, game birds, migratory birds, protected birds and fish into Wyoming, and to regulate and permit the importation of big or trophy game animals into Wyoming for exhibition purposes or for zoos. Big game animals are defined as antelope, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, moose or mountain goat. Trophy game animals are defined as black bear, grizzly bear or mountain lion.

Citation: WYO. STAT. §23-1-102, §23-1-101


  • B = Ban on exhibition of animals at a roadside zoo or in connection with amusement, recreation or entertainment.
  • b = Partial ban on exhibition of animals -- may allow for exhibition of certain animals only or limit where an exhibition can occur or the length of time for the exhibition.
  • F = Federal Exhibitor permit required or may offer a broader range of protection, or may replace the need for a state permit.
  • L = Requires the "owner" of the animal to be exhibited obtain a license or a permit or to register the animal with state or local authorities.
  • LR = Requires the "owner" of the animal to be exhibited to obtain a license or a permit or register the animal with state or local authorities. The license or permit provides guidelines or restrictions on the exhibition of the animals. (housing regulations or minimum care requirements)
  • A = Certain permits are NOT required if there is to be an exhibition of animals.
  • O = No statute or regulation governs this issue or permits a city or municipality to regulate or license exhibitors.
  • N = Rules regarding possession or importation (including entry permit and or veterinary permit when entering the state).