Feline Conservation Federation


Ohio Regulations on Wild and Exotic Felines

Department of Natural Resources
1840 Belcher Drive
Columbus, OH 43224

State Website: http://ohio.gov/

Department Website: http://www2.ohiodnr.gov/

Department of Agriculture (dangerous wild animals)
Division of Animal Industry
8995 East Main Street
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068-3399 

Department Website: http://www.agri.ohio.gov/
Dangerous Wild Animals: http://www.agri.ohio.gov/TopNews/DangerousWildAnimalAct/    

Short Summary: Effective 9/5/2012, Ohio bans Canada lynx, Eurasian lynx, bobcat, caracal and hybrids, cheetah, clouded leopard, cougar, Eurasian lynx, Iberian lynx, jaguar, leopard, lion, serval excluding savannahs, snow leopard, and tiger as dangerous wild animals.  Though they are not listed, bobcats have also been interpreted to be included in this ban.  Exempt are AZA, ZAA, research, circus, vet, Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries accredited/verified sanctuaries, grandfathered educational institution with single mascot (requires animal to live at AZA or ZAA facility, $1,000,000 liability insurance and no public contact), rehabilitators, state endangered/threatened species licensees, and those traveling through the state less than 48 hours.  To be grandfathered, owners had to register their animals, have them microchipped, neuter the males unless waived, comply with sign and temporary caging and care standards by November 5, and must obtain a Wildlife Shelter Permit or Wildlife Propagation Permit (breeding for Species Survival Plan only) before January 1, 2014 and comply with all permit requirements.  The state also issues Rescue Facility Permits which must be obtained by 1/1/2014 for current ones or before 60 days of starting one.  

Update: In 2016 a lawsuit filed by an Ohio bobcat owner challenging the inclusion of bobcat into the list of felines regulated by the Department of Agriculture was won and a subsequent appeal by the Ohio officials was also lost so that all Department of Agriculture bobcat permits have been discontinued and this native feline now is regulated under the Department of Natural Resources. Previously, DNR required a permit to possess the native endangered species bobcat. Permits issued for zoological, propagation, scientific and educational purposes. Must have import permit before the bobcat can be imported into the state. Now bobcats are also regulated by Ohio Department of Agriculture as a dangerous wild animal.