How to Obtain Permits and Licenses
By Pat Hoctor
I will try to give you a brief rundown of how to obtain the paperwork you need to stay legal. Remember that I am not an attorney, but this is what works for me.
Let's start with the Federally Endangered animals. If you can't obtain them in the state you reside, get them on breeder’s loan or receive them gratis. Then you need to obtain a Captive Bred Wildlife Permit from the Federal Wildlife Permit Office (4401 N. Fairfax Dr., Room 432, Arlington, VA. 22203-Phone 703-358-2014, Fax 703-358-2281).
If you don't have excellent pens, a USDA license, over a year experience reproducing a like species and the patience of Job, good luck. You'll need it.
Answer all the questions as truthfully as possible and in full. Leave no blank spaces. Remember, you must apply for each species that you desire. If they bump your application, keep resubmitting it.
A USDA license is required if you use an exotic in any commercial activity, even if you don't make a profit (e.g. a parade or school lectures). You can obtain an application form by calling your capital and asking for the federal USDA APHIS phone number. In this permit, they are not basically approving your knowledge but approving your pens and facility. They are required by law to make periodic inspections of your facilities. If you aren't required by law to have one, believe me, you don't want it. It's no fun to have someone dictate to you how you must do almost everything at your farm. By law, it is a negative report - never saying anything nice about anything, just finding fault. You must do what they say - even if it makes no sense. They are gods and will make sure you know it.
State permits are required in most cases on species native to your state. However, each state is different, so you must contact your Fish and Game Department or their equivalent.
A state permit is required on native animals in most states because the main priority of the Fish and Game Department of each state is to protect those animals native to the state.
If there were no tabs kept on activities, including these animals, there would be no control. You can find the proper phone number for your area by calling information in your state's capital and asking for the Fish and Game Department, Permit Division. They will tell you what animals you need a permit for. Remember, even if you have a legal permit, many states still require both import and export permits.
You should also check with your State Health Department. They may require you to have import numbers and certain tests performed before you can legally enter your state with the livestock.
The hardest permits to check on are at the county and city levels. You will get the runaround. They probably don't know if it's legal or if you need a permit from them. If they tell you that you don't need one, get it in writing. If they say you do need one, make them show you the law.
The last step is to make sure you are zoned properly. There has been a lot of flack lately with zoning boards. We don't seem to fit anywhere. Your local officials are the people to contact for this information.
If you have any specific questions, I will try to help. Remember, I don't know the laws in 50 states. No one does because they change daily.