Exotic Animal FAQ


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May a City or County create their own ordinances regarding the keeping of wildlife or exotic animals that are stricter that state statutes?  Yes.  See ORS 609.205.  Oregon Cities and Counties generally have their own statutes regarding the keeping of exotic animals or wildlife.

How do Oregon Statutes define an exotic animal?  See ORS 609.305.

(1) Any member of the family Felidae not indigenous to Oregon, except domestic cats;

(2) Any nonhuman primate;

(3) Any nonwolf member of the family Canidae not indigenous to Oregon, except domestic dogs;

(4) Any bear, except the black bear; and

(5) Any member of the order Crocodylia.

What are Oregon state policies in relation to exotic animals?  See ORS 609.309.  It is the policy of this state to protect the public against health and safety risks that exotic animals pose to the community and to ensure the health, welfare and safety of exotic animals and ensure the security of facilities in which exotic animals are kept, so as to avoid undue physical or financial risk to the public.

Are there any laws regarding the sale of exotic animals in Oregon?  Yes.  See ORS 609.312. A person who sells an exotic animal must, prior to accepting the offer to purchase, provide the prospective purchaser of the exotic animal with informational material approved by the State Department of Agriculture regarding the care, husbandry, health and nutritional needs of the exotic animal. ORS 609.345 describes exceptions to having a permit for exotic animals.

Under what kind of conditions must an exotic animal be kept?  See ORS 609.325.  An exotic animal must be kept under conditions of confinement or control that, given the nature of the animal, would be imposed by a reasonable and prudent keeper to avoid physical or financial risk to the public as a result of escape of the animal or otherwise.

Do keepers of exotic animals have strict liability?  Yes.  See  ORS 609.329.  With strict liability, one does not need to prove negligence against the keeper of an exotic animal to claim damages.

  •  A keeper of an exotic animal is strictly liable for Costs incurred by any person or city, county or state agency in attempting to remedy the animal’s escape from custody;
  • Personal injury, property damage or similar loss directly or indirectly caused by the animal’s escape from custody, the lack of custody over the animal or efforts to remedy the animal’s escape from custody; and
  • Personal injury directly caused by the animal while in custody.

Are permits required for the keeping of an exotic animal?  Yes, with some exceptions.  See ORS 609.341 and ORS 609.345.