Florida Regulations on Wild and Exotic Felines
Game and Fresh Water Fish Department
620 South Meridian St.
Tallahassee, Fl 32399
State Web Site: http://myflorida.com
Department Web Site: http://myfwc.com/
Captive Wildlife Page: http://myfwc.com/license/captive-wildlife/
Short Summary: Regulations Governing the Importation, Transportation, Sale, and Possession of Wild Animals - Class I animals (includes panthera cats and cougar and cheetah) cannot be kept for personal use - must be commercial exhibitors. Class I permit requires 1 year and 1000 hours experience, details of experience and place acquired and 2 references. Documented educational experience in zoology or other relevant biological sciences, obtained at the college or technical school level or above, may substitute for up to six months or 500 hours of the required experience. The Class I permit applicant still has to prove another documented 500 hours or 6 months if they have the Biological Sciences qualifications.
Class I animal permits applied for after July 1, 2000 require that facilities for Class I animals be constructed on properties of not less than 5 acres in size. New state law passed in 2007 requires all Class I holders to have $2,000,000 liability insurance or $10,000 cash bond to cover the cost of recapture of escaped animal. New regulations passed in 2009 place cougar and cheetah in Class I. Existing class II facilities with cougars may continue to keep them, but new acquisitions can only be had by class I licensed facilities of 5 acres. Grandfathered felines were also required to have permanent identification by January 1, 2010.
Most small cats are listed under Class II and may be kept as pets. Permits require 1,000 hours experience and successful completion of a test. Class II wildlife shall not be possessed in multi-unit dwellings unless the dwelling in which they are housed is equipped with private entrance, exit, and yard area.