Feline Conservation Federation

New York

New York Regulations on Wild and Exotic Felines

State Department of Environmental Conservation
50 Wolf Road
Albany, NY 12233
518-457-0689

State Web Site: http://www.ny.gov/
Department Website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/

Short Summary: New York bans the breeding, purchase or sale of wild felines other than hybrids that are at least four generations removed and registered by CFA or TICA for pets. All existing owners had to register their felines by June 30, 2005 and apply for a license. License fee is $170 for 2 years. Exempt are AZA zoos, USDA exhibitors, research facilities, licensed vets, incorporated humane societies, shelters, SPCA, colleges and universities, wildlife rehabilitators, those transporting an animal to an exempted place, wildlife sanctuary, and those traveling through in less than 10 days.

Lions require a Dangerous Wildlife License, which is only issued for science, education or exhibition. 

Native species such as bobcats and cougars may not be kept as pets.  Bobcats can be imported for other purposes without a permit, but require a Fur Breeder License to possess or breed.  Cougars are considered an endangered species and require an Endangered Species License. 

In 2012, New York passed legislation which required the department to create lists of prohibited non native species, species that require a permit and legal species.  It also passed a ban on releasing exotic animals. 

New York (S 6903/Chapter 307) - Effective within 180 days - On 8/11/2014, a new law passed prohibiting dealers or exhibitors from allowing direct contact with big cats - lion, tiger, leopard except clouded leopard, jaguar, cougar or hybrid of such, without a permanent physical barrier.