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Exhibiting Exotic Animals


City Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of

This permit is required for the exhibition or use of any animal in New York City for commercial purposes. This includes animals used in theatrical performances, circuses, or in demonstrations by wildlife rehabilitators.<br/><br/>

Animals otherwise illegal to keep under the Health Code (see link to Prohibited Wild Animals below) can be used in an exhibition if all conditions as outlined below are met. Submission of an application with required attachments is required 10 business days before the date of each animal's arrival. All requests must be in writing and must comply with the following:  

  • Exhibited animals must be under direct control and supervision of handlers at all times. There can be no direct public contact with these animals. Animals and animal waste must not create a public health nuisance. 
  • Each animal must be housed in a cage of adequate size for that species with proper ventilation, so as to cause no obvious discomfort to the animal.
  • No animals are to be sold, bartered, or given away at the exhibit. All Federal and State regulations regarding the importation and transportation of animals must be adhered to. (See USDA's Animal Welfare link below)
  • Any changes in exhibition schedule will invalidate permission to exhibit. Failure to notify the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene of any changes in the exhibition schedule will invalidate permission to exhibit. 
This information encompasses only health-related aspects of the regulatory requirements of this type of permit. There are explicit conditions under which animals may be exhibited and failure to meet these conditions can invalidate permission to exhibit. 

Exhibitors assume all responsibility and liability for personal injury, illness, harm or property damage caused directly or indirectly by the animals in the exhibit.  Exhibitor also agrees to hold the City of New York harmless for any resulting personal injury or property damage alleged to have been caused by the Department’s granting of permission for the exhibit or use of animals.

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DoHMH)

Office of Veterinary Public Health Services

125 Worth Street, Box 66

New York NY 10013
Fax (646) 364-1801

For further assistance, please call 311 and ask for: Exotic Animal Exhibition

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