South Carolina Regulations on Wild and Exotic Felines
Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 167
Columbia, SC 29202
Section 47-5-50 Prohibition on sale of wild carnivores as pets states that no carnivores, which normally are not domesticated, may be sold as a pet in this state. Dangerous animals are not permitted beyond premises unless safely restrained. Further, those possessing dangerous animals must maintain them in a controlled and confined manner. Dangerous animal is not defined only on the basis of species. No person may possess with the intent to sell, offer for sale, breed, or buy, or attempt to buy, a known dangerous animal; however, this subsection does not apply to a person who is licensed to possess and breed an animal under the classifications specified and regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act as codified in Title 7 of the United States Code. It is illegal to sell, possess or import wild felines except for scientific or exhibition purposes.
2017 Legislative change - Large felids (lion, tiger, cougar, leopard, cheetah, hjaguar, snow leopard) may only be possessed by USDA licensed facilities. Already existing large felids can be kept but require registration, pay for a permit andannual fee, have the animal microchipped and it cannot be replaced.
From Act 86:
This section does not apply to the sale, purchase, donation, or transfer of ownership of carnivores between publicly-owned zoos or animal dealers located in this State and licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Animal Welfare Act on the effective date of this chapter. These exemptions do not allow for the sale, purchase, donation, or transfer of ownership to private individuals in this State.
Additionally, the regulation prohibiting the public contact with wildlife not vaccinated with an approved rabies vaccine was amended to read as follows:
Any public displays, showings, or exhibitions of wild carnivores, primates, or any other animal will default to the Animal Welfare Act-9 CFR 2.131- Handling of Animals.