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Prohibited Wild Animals


City Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of

The Health Code of the City of New York prohibits any animals in the City that are naturally inclined and capable of inflicting harm upon human beings.

Prohibited animals include any animals specified by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; and any native or exotic wildlife whose possession or sale is prohibited because they are designated as protected or endangered pursuant to any federal, state or local law, regulation, or rule.

The list of prohibited wild animals, available under Additional Resources, below, identifies animals which cannot be sold, given, received, kept, harbored or exhibited in New York City, unless they are in a zoological park or aquarium operated by the Department of Parks, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Staten Island Zoological Society; a scientific laboratory operating with valid permits and licenses from the relevant City, State and Federal authorities; a circus or native wildlife rehabilitator licensed by federal or state agencies; or a location which has received a Wild Animal Exhibition Permit from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, available on the Health Department's Permits website, to exhibit or use such animals, and which has protective devices which are adequate to prevent such animal from escaping or injuring the public.

Animals including, but not limited to, domesticated dogs and cats, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, domesticated rabbits and fowl or small birds such as parakeets, parrots, canaries and finches may be kept, possessed, harbored or sold in the City of New York provided that possession of the animal is not otherwise prohibited by law, including federal, state and local laws regulating domestic animals and livestock or protecting wildlife and endangered species.

An animal whose possession is prohibited pursuant to this section may be seized by any authorized employee, officer or agent of the Department or of any other agency of the City of New York, and the Commissioner shall provide for such animal's appropriate disposition.

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DoHMH)

Office of Veterinary Public Health Services
22 Cortlandt Street, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10007
Phone (646) 364-1783

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

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