Maine

Summary: 

Under Maine law, it is lawful to privately possess big cats with a General Wildlife Possession Permit. Permit holders must meet caging requirements and consent to an inspection of the facilities in which the animal will be kept. Additional caging and facility requirements may be imposed on owners if it is necessary to mitigate safety risks or ensure humane treatment of the big cat. The permit must be renewed every two years at a fee of twenty-seven dollars. Likewise, a Wildlife Exhibit Permit authorizes any commercial display of wildlife. The permit must be renewed every two years at a fee of one hundred and forty-seven dollars. This permit does not allow pet shops to display or sell big cats.

Classification: 
Permit
Color: 
blue

New Jersey

Summary: 

In New Jersey, it is lawful to privately possess a big cat with an Individual Hobby Permit. New Jersey law classifies big cats as potentially dangerous animals and this classification means only permit holders may keep big cats as pets. The Individual Hobby Permit must be renewed annually and it requires a permit fee of ten dollars along with satisfactory housing and care for the animal. New Jersey allows other types of big cat possession under Scientific, Zoological, Animal Exhibitor, Animal Theatrical Agency, and Rehabilitation permits.

Classification: 
Permit
Color: 
blue

Delaware

Summary: 

Under Delaware law, big cats may be possessed with a permit. It is lawful to import and possess any big cat or hybrid with an individual permit from the Department of Agriculture. A permit is required for each animal and individual permits must be renewed every three years. Other permit requirements include a twenty-five dollar fee, proof of adequate enclosures, copies of both an emergency evacuation plan and animal attack protocol, and consent to an inspection of the facility and the big cat. The permit does not authorize breeding of big cats. Delaware law allows only those with a sales permit or an accredited zoo permit to breed big cats.

Classification: 
Permit
Color: 
blue

Indiana

Summary: 

Under Indiana law, it is lawful to possess a big cat with a permit. Indiana law classifies big cats as Class III wildlife, which means big cats may be possessed only with a permit. To receive a permit, an applicant must pay a ten dollar permit fee, meet enclosure and facility requirements, provide information about the animal’s health with written verification from a licensed veterinarian, and provide a recapture plan in the event the big cat escapes. Some persons and groups are exempt from this provision and may lawfully possess a big cat without a permit, including zoos, carnivals, dealers, pet shops, nature centers, and circuses.

Classification: 
Permit
Color: 
blue

Maryland

Summary: 

Maryland prohibits private possession of big cats. It is unlawful for a person to posses any cat other than a domestic cat. There are limited exceptions to this prohibition, including individuals who were in possession of a big cat prior to May 31, 2006, research facilities, licensed exhibitors, a nonprofit animal sanctuary, and zoos.

Classification: 
Ban
Color: 
gray

Pennsylvania

Summary: 

Under Pennsylvania law, it is lawful to privately possess lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, and cougars with an exotic wildlife possession permit issued by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. A permit will be issued only when the approving board is satisfied that housing and care for the big cat is adequate and public safety is protected.

Classification: 
Permit
Color: 
blue

Michigan

Summary: 

Michigan prohibits private ownership of big cats. No person may privately own a lions, leopards, jaguars, tigers, cougars, panthers, cheetah, or hybrid unless the person possessed the big cat prior to July 7, 2000. In that case, the person may continue ownership with a permit that requires adequate enclosures and consent to examinations by State accredited veterinarians.

This prohibition does not apply to AZA-accredited zoos, sanctuaries accredited by the American Sanctuary Association, or exhibitors whose primary function is public education. Exhibitors must not allow direct contact with the public, refrain from breeding, and they must meet training, housing, care, and transportation standards.

Classification: 
Ban
Color: 
gray

Montana

Summary: 

Montana does not permit private ownership of most big cats. Under Montana law, no person may possess a wild animal unless authorized by law and the law does not authorize big cat ownership with the exception of jungle cats and servals. Jungle cats and servals may be privately owned with a permit.

However, Montana does permit possession of big cats for menageries with a Roadside Menagerie Permit. A permit is required for menageries keeping cougars, lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, pumas, cheetahs, ocelots, and hybrids. All permits require enclosure, sanitation, and safety standards. Of the big cats permitted at a menagerie, the law requires tigers and mountain lions to be tattooed with identifying numbers.

Classification: 
Ban
Color: 
gray

Idaho

Summary: 

Idaho permits private possession of big cats with a permit. Under Idaho Law, caracals, cheetahs, geoffroy’s cats, jaguars, leopards, lions, margays, ocelot, servals, and tigers are classified as deleterious exotic animals. As such, ownership is lawful only with a Possession Permit. The permit requires descriptions of the facility and confinement areas in which the cat will be held, written statements about the owner’s experience and training, a recapture plan, certification from a veterinarian of sterilization or reproduction prevention, and consent to inspection of facilities and animal.  Traveling exhibitions, like transient circuses, must obtain a Temporary Exhibitor Permit to possess a big cat for up to than thirty days.

Classification: 
Permit
Color: 
blue

Oregon

Summary: 

Under Oregon law, no person may possess a big cat or sell a big cat to a private person. However, a person in possession of a big cat prior to January 1, 2010, may continue possession with a valid permit issued by the State Department of Agriculture.

Although private possession is prohibited, some institutions may possess a big cat with a valid permit, including wildlife rehabilitation centers authorized by the State Fish and Wildlife Commission, research facilities licensed by the USDA, veterinary hospitals or clinics, and law enforcement agencies. Permit holders must meet the State Department of Agriculture’s requirements and pay a permit fee for each big cat owned.

Classification: 
Ban
Color: 
gray