In the United States, there are regulations governing private possession of exotic animals. Each state has its own specific laws. In Oklahoma, the relevant legislation is Oklahoma Statute Title 29, §4-107. Anyone living in Oklahoma who is planning to possess, breed or raise an exotic animal should familiarize himself with the law and be aware of the consequences of violation.
In Oklahoma, anyone wishing to possess native wildlife, whether to keep as pets or breed and raise to sell, must have the a specific license. There are specific references within the law to cats and bears; it is illegal for anyone to sell these types of animal to another person who does not have either the Oklahoma commercial wildlife breeder's license or non-commercial wildlife breeder's license. Additionally, the law also states that anyone who possesses a cat or bear that is expected to weigh more than 50 pounds when fully grown must keep the animal suitably confined in order to keep it controlled and secured and avoid the possibility of injury or death to anyone who enters the premises.
According to Oklahoma state law, anyone wishing to possess, breed or raise any wild animal must apply for a license from the Director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The applicant must show, to the Director's satisfaction, that he will not use any animal brood stock in an illegal way. The Director has the authority to issue a license to anyone who he believes is acting in good faith and will not violate any state laws. As of June 2010, the fee for this wildlife license is $48; as are all subsequent renewals.
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The exception to this Oklahoma state law regarding exotic animal possession are fish, aquatic reptiles, amphibians, aquatic invertebrates and exotic livestock. These may be possessed, bred and raised without having a license.
Any violation of the law which results in a conviction is likely to be subject to a punishment of a fine of at least $100, as of June 2010. In addition, the guilty party will have his license revoked and unable to apply for a new license until after the date of expiry of the original revoked license.
C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."