West Virginia Code                West Virginia Code of State Rules


Dangerous Wild Animals Board

(found on Department of Agriculture, Animal Health)

Meets: Twice a year



DWA Registration 



Native Species:

     Division of Natural Resources

     Wildlife Resources Section
     324 Fourth Ave    

    South Charleston, WV 25303     
     (304) 558-2771       

Board: Natural Resources


Meets: Quarterly 




Scientific Permit

Hunting/Fishing Licenses:
(304) 558-2758


Dangerous wild animals: BANS possession except for AZA, animal control or law enforcement, veterinary hospital or clinics, research medical institution, research facility, circus, USDA exhibitor at a fair or festival, or someone transporting one through the state less than 48 hours. USDA exhibitors and dealers licensed on January 1, 2014 are exempt so long as they do not have repeated and uncorrected USDA citations or an animal cruelty or neglect conviction.  Current owners on 6/1/2015 or those in possession of an animal later added through rules must obtain an annual permit and must:


  • NOT breed, receive or replace an animal
  • Agree to notify the county sheriff or humane officer immediately of an escape
  • NOT allow physical contact except for permittee, designated handler, law enforcement, or vet
  • NOT have animal abuse or neglect conviction
  • NOT have revoked or suspended permit involving care, possession, exhibition, breeding or sale of a DWA
  • Permanently mark with unique identifier
  • Maintain records to prove prior ownership
  • Have proof of $300,000 liability insurance with $250 deductible
  • Notify Board at least 3 days before transfer to another person out of state
  • Obtain written Board consent before transfer within state
  • Obtain written Board consent to move the animal except to a vet for a medical emergency 
  • Comply with all Board rules

 (West Virginia Code 19-34, 3/21/14)

NEW: Dangerous Wild Animals List (HB 2219 Effective 6/5/17 – 6/5/22):

  • Hyenas
  • Gray wolves (excludes hybrids)
  • Lions
  • Tigers
  • Jaguars
  • Leopards (includes clouded leopards, Sunda clouded leopards, snow leopards)
  • Cheetahs and domestic hybrids
  • Lynxes and domestic hybrids
  • Cougars and domestic hybrids
  • Caracals and domestic hybrids
  • Bears (except black bears)
  • Elephants
  • Rhinos
  • Hippos
  • Cape buffalo
  • African wild dogs
  • Komodo dragons
  • Nonhuman primates except
    • Lemurs
    • Tamarins (golden lion, black faced lion, golden-rumped lion, cotton top, emperor, saddlebacked, blackmantled, Geoffroys)
    • Night monkeys
    • Titi monkeys (dusty and masked)
    • Muriquis
    • Goeldi’s monkeys
    • Sakis (white-faced, black-bearded, white-nose bearded, monk)
    • Uakaris (bald and black)
    • Spider monkeys (black-handed, white-bellied, browned-headed, black)
    • Common wooly monkeys
    • Howler monkeys (red, black, mantled)


  • Requires ZAA caging standards
  • Permit fees annually are $10 registration application fee and $150 per animal permit fees
  • Board must meet annually by June 1 to review list and by December 1 to review current permits and determine animal list changes


 Native Permits:

  • Pet Permit ($2 – keep as pets from commercial dealers or the wild except fox, skunk and raccoon possessed after 2006 per Ban)

  • Roadside Menagerie Permit ($25 keep animals from commercial dealers or the wild) 

  • Private Game Preserve License (sale of native game animals, fur-bearing animals, game birds, game fish, amphibians, and song or insectivorous birds)

(West Virginia Code 20-2-11, 20-2-47, 20-2-51, 20-2-52; West Virginia Admin Code 58-63, 58-64).


Permit required for wildlife. BANS import of coyotes, fox, skunks, and raccoons (see
Import Ban). 
(West Virginia Code 20-2-13)



 West Virginia Legislature

          1900 Kanawha Blvd. East

          Charleston, WV 25305

Sessions: 2 Years (odd-even)

Convenes: Jan (2nd Wed)

       Gov Inaug Year - Feb (2nd Wed)

Adjourns: 60 calendar days

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West Virginia Constitution Art 7 Sec 14

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