Saturday, June 9, 2012


Personally, I think it's a bad idea to keep an exotic animal such as a tiger or an alligator as a pet, but some people like to do this crazy thing anyway.  If you are one of these people, you need to find out what the laws are in your state about keeping exotic animals, because if you don't follow the law, you might get a big, fat fine or even end up in jail.  And I'm pretty sure you couldn't keep your pet orangutan in your cell with you for company.

In the past, there were some really goofy laws about exotic animals, like for example in Florida, if you tied an elephant to a parking meter, you had to put money in the meter, just like you would for a car.  I don't know if there were any rules about whether you had to clean up your elephant's poop or not.  Another law was that if you lived in Massachusetts, it was illegal to let a gorilla ride in the back of a car.  Maybe it was okay to let the gorilla sit in front and drive, but probably only if he had a license.

Most of these old laws have gone away, but some of the laws that are still around are sort of crazy, too.  For instance, in Florida, you can't own orangutans, leopards, or bears.  But you can keep almost any other kind of pet if you are at least 18, have a year's experience with that type of animal, and pass a written test to get a license.

 In Alaska, you can own all sorts of unusual animals, and you don't even have to have a permit.  But you can never let your exotic animal loose into the wild, so if you get tired of keeping it, you will have to find some other way to get rid of it.  Also, if you live in the city of Juneau, you cannot take any kind of pet into a hair salon, not even a dog.  I can't explain the reason for this law.  I am just telling you what it is.

People who live in North Dakota are not allowed to own skunks.  But animals such as ostriches, elk and donkeys are considered domestic animals.  So you can keep them on your farm, or even in your back yard in the city.

In Alabama, you can't have a jack rabbit, elk, mongoose, or piranha.  Otherwise, you can own whatever kind of strange animal you want, and you don't even need a permit, even if you live in a big city.

Well, after reading about these exotic animal laws, I started wondering what the law was in my very own state of Missouri.  And what I found out was that the law says the following animals are dangerous:  tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars, margays, cheetahs, mountain lions, bobcats, Canadian lynx, jaguarondi, wolves, hyenas, coyotes, and reptiles over 8 feet long that are deadly or poisonous.  You can only own, buy, sell, or transfer these animals if they are registered in the county where the animal lives.

Meanwhile, nextdoor in Kansas, you can own any exotic animal that you got in a legal way.  You can't just go out and capture the animal, because that would be illegal.  You only need a permit if you are getting a mountain lion, bear, or wolf.  You have to keep your exotic animal in a place that it can't get out of.  If one predatory animal got loose, it could screw up the ecosystem.  And if two or more got loose, they could start having babies, turn into an invasive species, and that would make a really, really big mess.

Which brings me back to my first point, when I said that it's a very bad idea to own an exotic animal in the first place.  And I haven't even talked about the fact that your exotic pet might suddenly decide to kill you and eat you someday, because that's a whole 'nother can of worms.  So I will just end by saying that, in my opinion, anybody who wants to keep an exotic pet really needs to have his or her head examined!

1 comment: