Posted on Jan 2, 2014 in Animals & pets
I’ve heard all kinds of conflicting information. Is it actually against the law to keep a monkey as a pet in the US?
It seems like ever since that one episode of Friends, and despite horror stories of people getting their faces torn off by chimps, folks just love the idea of a pet monkey. And that’s fine — some species make better pets than others, and I’m no expert on this topic so I’m not going to either condone or condemn primate ownership here — but is it actually legal to keep a primate as a pet?
Like so many questions we get here at FindersFree World Headquarters, the answer ends up being it depends.
In the United States, primate ownership is regulated at the state level. According to petmonkeyinfo.com, the following states have banned pet monkey ownership outright:
AK, CO, CT, GA, HI, IA, KY, LA, MA, MD, MN, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OR, UT
The remaining states either allow monkeys with no caveats, limit ownership to certain species, require permits or licenses for primate ownership, or any combination thereof. This makes it far too complicated to list who allows what and under what conditions, however I can point you towards Born Free USA’s excellent website that gives an overview of the various states’ laws regarding the ownership of exotic and/or “dangerous” animals.
For the most up to date and specific information, I’d recommend calling your particular state’s wildlife department — game, fish, & parks; agriculture department, the regulating department varies by state — and ask. Most assuredly, do this before actually purchasing or otherwise obtaining the animal — the onus of responsibility is entirely on the prospective owner, not the seller.
In Canada the laws can vary not only by province but even by city — again, check with the local government agency that regulates this sort of thing in your locality.
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