There are more than 10 statutes in the Nevada State Code setting out the legal rights, responsibilities and penalties regarding ownership, treatment and care of exotic pets in Nevada. These laws, although verbose, make clear to pet owners what pets can and cannot be owned in the state of Nevada, how to properly treat the animals and the penalties of breaking any of the laws in the state code.
A very important statute within the Nevada State Code sets out what animals may be considered pets in the state of Nevada. NV ST 193.021 states that "dogs, domestic animals and birds" are considered personal property in the state of Nevada. Personal property cannot be taken without purchase, transfer or some other mutual agreement between owner and potential owner.
In the past decade or more, the ownership of exotic pets has become a national concern. Many pets that are considered exotic are not meant to be domesticated. Most exotic pets cannot live in small, confined spaces, may be uncomfortable in the climate and/or environment in which they live and/or may exhibit aggressive behavior toward humans. Therefore, many more laws have come into existence on the county level regulating how legal exotic pets can be maintained in a household or pet store. Each county's laws differ, however.
The Nevada State Code prohibits ownership of specific exotic pets, especially aggressive pets, while allowing the ownership of others. Nevada Administrative Code 503, Sections 110 and 140 state that private ownership of alligators, sharks, raccoons, skunks, coyotes and numerous other animals is forbidden, while ownership of yaks, wolves, elephants and monkeys is legal.
Fines and Penalties
According to Laura Allan, executive director of the Animal Law Coalition, there are numerous fines and penalties for individuals found to own exotic pets that are illegal under Nevada law. Civil penalties ranged from $200 to $2,000 in 2008, but there are criminal penalties, as well. Those include injunctions against individuals that possess the animals and seizure and custody of the animal.
Pets can be licensed with the state or county in which they are kept (usually the place of residence of the pet owner). Pet licensure is voluntary for all pets besides dogs, cats and ferrets in the state of Nevada, but it is helpful to license a pet if it gets lost.