What Are the Laws Regarding Owning Wild Animals as Pets in Louisiana?

Wild or exotic animals are not allowed as pets in Louisiana. The Director of the Animal Control and Rescue Center can issue temporary permits to people who have injured wild animals or babies. Zoos, circuses, animal shows, and veterinary clinics can display or keep wild or exotic animals, but it is prohibited to import, possess, purchase, or sell them. Prolonged confinement is naturally stressful for these animals and adequate long-term care by experienced people is essential for their health and well-being, as well as for society.

This prohibition extends to zoos and circuses, which cannot transfer their unwanted animals to any business or activity where animals can be killed for sport. In addition, no person may sponsor, promote, or train a wild or exotic animal or attend as a spectator any activity in which a wild or exotic animal behaves unnaturally or suffers harassment, abuse, or mental or physical stress, or could harm a human being. It is illegal for anyone to keep wild or exotic animals for exhibition purposes, except for zoos, circuses, veterinary clinics, certain scenic animal exhibits, and government institutions accredited by the AZA that meet local permit requirements. The Animal Rescue and Control Center can administer temporary permits to parish residents to care for injured wild or exotic animals or babies.

Louisiana also has a law that protects Chimp Haven from banning non-human primates and from liability for injuries or damage caused by its animals. For the purposes of anti-cruelty laws, “adequate water” means “providing each animal with daily water of sufficient quality and quantity to avoid unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering on the part of the animal. Under section 115 of the LWFC regulations, it is generally illegal for all animal exhibitors to import, own, buy, or sell any ape (or other non-human primate) in Louisiana. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry's animal health regulations include import requirements for wild and semi-wild animals.

Any research center that imports monkeys must comply with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) animal import regulations and with federal permit requirements. Certain sections of the state's Criminal Code prohibit animal cruelty and the sporting killing of zoo and circus animals. The Division of Veterinary Health of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) regulates the importation of animals to prevent the introduction of infectious diseases. However, under section 2101 of the LDAF regulations, anyone importing wild or semi-wild animals must submit a report to the state veterinarian within 10 days of the date of shipment and must make the animals available for entry inspection.

REGISTRATION (authorized wild pig transporter) with the Louisiana Animal Health Board is required to transport wild pigs. When Chimp Haven imports monkeys from other states, it must comply with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry's animal import regulations and with any federal permit requirements. For more information on owning wild animals as pets in Louisiana, please refer to state rules and regulations and statutes. It is important to remember that adequate long-term care by experienced people is essential to the health and well-being of these animals and society.