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Dangerous Animal License

License Details

Authorizes an individual with appropriate training, experience and facilities with required safeguards, to possess animals listed as Dangerous Animals for scientific, educational, exhibition, zoological, or propagation purposes.

This license applies to possession of any of the following animals listed as Dangerous Animals:

List of Dangerous Animals (PDF)


There is no fee for this license.

License Duration

The duration of this license is 1 year from the date of issuance.

What This License Allows:

This license authorizes the purchase, possession, import, and sale of animals listed as Dangerous Animals, for scientific, educational, exhibition, zoological, or propagation purposes.

What This License Does Not Allow:

  • Possession of any dangerous animal as a pet.
  • Addition of new or replacement dangerous animals without license amendment.
  • Possession of dangerous animals at a facility which cannot ensure the health and safety of the public or indigenous fish and wildlife populations.
  • Possession of dangerous animals without required insurance coverage.
  • Propagation of dangerous animals unless specifically authorized by the license conditions.

Other Pertinent Information

The following are required in order to receive a license to possess a dangerous animal for exhibition:

Facilities - All facilities housing dangerous animals must include at a minimum the following:

  • Primary caging
    • Constructed of industry standard materials to ensure the dangerous animal(s) cannot escape and that the public cannot come in contact with the animal(s)
    • Utilizes a double door entry system
    • Must be locked at all times
    • Meets the animal's physical, social, and psychological needs
  • Perimeter/Secondary barrier which prevents unauthorized access to the facility and can contain the dangerous animal(s) in the event of an escape from the primary caging.
  • Public barriers to ensure the public cannot have contact with the dangerous animals.
  • All facilities that will be exhibiting animals on site (fixed) must be open to the public for no less than 90 days per year with regular viewing hours.

Insurance coverage

  • Proof of Comprehensive General Liability Insurance coverage of at least $1 Million for each occurrence and $2 Million aggregate

Marking/tagging of all dangerous animals

  • All dangerous animals authorized by license must be marked or tagged with industry standard devices such as visible tags, PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tags, or other permanent tagging/marking technique that allows each individual animal to be uniquely identified.

Facility staff

  • All staff who, during the course of their duties, may be exposed to or in close proximity to dangerous animals, must be listed as designated agents on the license prior to undertaking any of these activities.
  • If you wish to designate individuals to assist in the care of dangerous animals at the licensed facility you must submit a Designated Agent Form (PDF) along with the application.
    • NOTE: Designated agents must be trained in appropriate animal husbandry including animal handling techniques, animal care and nutrition, and have been trained for emergency response in the event of an animal escape. All designated agents who will be in close contact with or exposed to rabies vector species must have received pre-exposure prophylactics.

Venomous reptiles

  • If venomous reptiles are requested to be possessed, the applicant must identify where antivenin is available locally and have an agreement with the facility to supply antivenin in the event of a bite.

In addition, the licensee shall maintain the following at the licensed premises:

  • Written Safety Plan which includes provisions for the safe handling, treatment, housing and care of each licensed dangerous animal, as well as staff and public safety measures.
  • Written Animal Escape Plan which includes notifications to local authorities, staff and visitors, staff roles and responsibilities and public safety measures to be implemented in the event of an escape.
  • Staff Training which includes animal care and husbandry techniques, safe animal handling techniques, roles, equipment use and notifications as outlined in the facilities written safety and animal escape plans.

Additional license requirements

  • Exhibition of mammals also requires that the applicant receive an Animal Welfare Act Class C Exhibitors license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal, Plant, Inspection Services

How to Apply

  • Complete the Dangerous Animal license application. You may also contact the Special Licenses Unit to request an application.
  • Obtain any additional required permits, licenses, or other required documents.
  • Mail your completed application and all required documents to the following address:
    • NYSDEC Special Licenses Unit
      625 Broadway
      Albany NY 12233-4752
  • All applications will be reviewed to ensure that the applicant meets the requirements of possessing a dangerous animal by possessing facilities which ensure the dangerous animal(s) cannot escape and that possession of the dangerous animal(s) will not cause a threat to the health and safety of the public or indigenous fish and wildlife populations.

Renewing & Reporting

License Renewal

  • All licenses expire one year from the date of issuance.
  • Licensees will receive a renewal notice prior to the expiration date noted on the license. If you do not receive a renewal notice 2-weeks prior to the license expiration, please contact our office.
  • All license renewal applications must include an Annual Report of Activities (PDF) listing the disposition of all licensed animals and the activities conducted with those animals during the license year.
    • Renewal applications received without an annual report of activities will be returned to the licensee as incomplete.

License Amendments

  • If your name, mailing address, or contact information needs to be changed following the issuance of a license, you will need to complete and submit a Change of Address form (PDF).
    • NOTE: if you intend to move any licensed animals to a different location, then you will need to complete and submit a new license application. Any new facility will be subject to a facility evaluation conducted by DEC.
  • To add or remove dangerous animals to or from your license, you must complete a License Amendment Request form (PDF) and submit it to our office.
    • NOTE: you may not acquire any new or replacement animals until you have received an amended license from our office authorizing you to do so.

Laws & Regulations

New York Codes Rules and Regulations (NYCRR)

Environmental Conservation Law (ECL)

To find these laws, click on the link then click ENV, then find Article 11, then click on the applicable

Contact Information

DEC Special Licenses Unit Address: 625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233-4752
Phone: 518-402-8985

Additional Resources and Information

United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

(USDA Animal and Plant Health inspection Service: Class C exhibitor's License application)

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    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-4752
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