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Dangerous Wild Animals
Dangerous Wild Animals

Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 310, a law regulating the possession of dangerous wild animals (DWA) and restricted snakes, into law on June 5, 2012. 

This law generally prohibits any person from:

  • Owning, trading, selling or offering for sale a dangerous wild animal (unless the animal was owned prior to the law taking effect, and a permit has been issued by our department)
  • Knowingly removing a microchip that is implanted in a dangerous wild animal
  • Allowing a dangerous wild animal or restricted snake to roam off the property where it is confined
  • Removing any teeth or claws from a dangerous wild animal or restricted snake
  • Knowingly releasing a dangerous wild animal or restricted snake into the wild
  • Failing to comply with the following signage requirements:
    • On each cage in which a dangerous wild animal is confined, signs warning the public that a dangerous wild animal is confined in the cage
    • At each entrance to the property where a dangerous wild animal is confined, a sign warning the public that a dangerous wild animal is on the property
    • On a vehicle that is used to transport a dangerous wild animal, a sign warning that a dangerous wild animal is in the vehicle


Commonly asked questions about Dangerous Wild Animals in Ohio:

What animals are considered "Dangerous Wild Animals"?

"Dangerous wild animal" means any of the following, including hybrids unless otherwise specified:

(1) Hyenas;

(2) Gray wolves, excluding hybrids;

(3) Lions;

(4) Tigers;

(5) Jaguars;

(6) Leopards, including clouded leopards, Sunda clouded leopards, and snow leopards;

(7) All of the following, including hybrids with domestic cats unless otherwise specified:

(a) Cheetahs;

(b) Lynxes, including Canadian lynxes, Eurasian lynxes, and Iberian lynxes;

(c) Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions;

(d) Caracals;

(e) Servals, excluding hybrids with domestic cats commonly known as savannah cats.


(8) Bears;

(9) Elephants;

(10) Rhinoceroses;

(11) Hippopotamuses;

(12) Cape buffaloes;

(13) African wild dogs;

(14) Komodo dragons;

(15) Alligators;

(16) Crocodiles;

(17) Caimans, excluding dwarf caimans;

(18) Gharials;

(19) Nonhuman primates other than lemurs and the nonhuman primates specified in division (C)(20) of Ohio Revised Code 935;

(20) All of the following nonhuman primates:

(a) Golden lion, black-faced lion, golden-rumped lion, cotton-top, emperor, saddlebacked, black-mantled, and Geoffroy's tamarins;

(b) Southern and northern night monkeys;

(c) Dusky titi and masked titi monkeys;

(d) Muriquis;

(e) Goeldi's monkeys;

(f) White-faced, black-bearded, white-nose bearded, and monk sakis;

(g) Bald and black uakaris;

(h) Black-handed, white-bellied, brown-headed, and black spider monkeys;

(i) Common woolly monkeys;

(j) Red, black, and mantled howler monkeys.

I want a pet monkey!  What species am I allowed to own in Ohio?

Marmosets, capuchins, lemurs, and squirrel monkeys.  Please check with local authorities to ensure these species are allowed in your area.

Can I possess a "Dangerous Wild Animal?"

In order to legally possess a DWA, you must:

(a) Have owned the animal prior to the law taking effect, and been issued a permit by our department at that time.


(b)  Meet one of the exemptions listed below:

 (No ODA permit required)

  • Accredited Association of Zoos and Aquariums facility
  • Accredited Zoological Association of America facility
  • Research facility as defined in federal Animal Welfare Act
  • Research facility accredited by Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International
  • U.S.D.A. licensed circus
  • Veterinarians providing temporary care
  • Wildlife shelters accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries
  • Individuals travelling through the state who are not in the state for more than 48 hours and who do not exhibit the animal(s) or bring them into contact with the public
  • Educational institution that displays a single dangerous wild animal as a mascot
  • Persons or facilities possessing certain Ohio Department of Natural Resources permits
  • Service spider monkey trained by non-profit organization

I saw an alligator for sale on Craigslist.  Who do I report that to?

If you would like to make a complaint about dangerous wild animals, please contact our department at (614)728-6220 or email dwa.cdb@agri.ohio.gov.