Are Capybaras Legal in Ohio? A Guide to Ohio’s Exotic Animal Laws

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Yes, capybaras can be legally owned as pets in Ohio with the appropriate permits and licenses. However, checking with local authorities and reviewing specific regulations is essential before acquiring one as a pet.


Legality of Capybaras in Ohio


Capybaras are not legal to own as pets in Ohio. Ohio law classifies capybaras as exotic animals, and private ownership of exotic animals is prohibited under Ohio Revised Code Section 935.01.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture enforces this law and requires owners of exotic animals to obtain a permit to possess them.

However, capybaras are not included in the list of animals that are eligible for permits, meaning that they cannot be legally owned in Ohio.

It is important to note that owning an exotic animal without a permit is a misdemeanor offense in Ohio, and violators may face fines, imprisonment, or both. Additionally, the state may seize the animal and place it in a licensed facility.

Therefore, it is not recommended to attempt to own a capybara in Ohio, as it is illegal and may result in legal consequences.



State Regulations

Ohio Department of Agriculture Policies

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) regulates the ownership and possession of exotic animals in Ohio.

Capybaras are considered exotic animals and are subject to regulation by the ODA. The ODA requires that individuals who own or possess exotic animals obtain a permit from the department.

To obtain a permit, individuals must meet specific requirements, including providing proof of liability insurance and demonstrating that the animal is properly contained and cared for.

The ODA also requires that individuals keep records of the animal’s health and veterinary care.


Exotic Animal Laws in Ohio


In addition to the regulations set forth by the ODA, Ohio has laws that prohibit certain exotic animals from being owned or possessed in the state.

These laws were put in place in response to a 2011 incident in which a man released dozens of exotic animals, including lions and tigers, from his private zoo before committing suicide.

Under Ohio’s exotic animal laws, certain animals, including big cats, bears, and primates, are prohibited from owning or possessing in the state. However, capybaras are not explicitly listed as prohibited animals.

It is important to note that while capybaras are not prohibited in Ohio, individuals who wish to own or possess them must still comply with the regulations set forth by the ODA. Failure to do so can result in fines and other penalties.


Local Ordinances


In Ohio, local ordinances govern the ownership of exotic animals, including capybaras. Checking with the local authorities before purchasing or owning a capybara is essential.

Some cities and counties in Ohio have banned the ownership of exotic animals, while others have specific regulations that owners must follow. For instance, in Cleveland, owning a capybara is illegal without a permit from the city’s health department.

In contrast, in Columbus, there are no specific regulations governing capybaras’ ownership, but owners must comply with the state’s exotic animal regulations.

In addition to local ordinances, Ohio has state regulations governing exotic animal ownership. Ohio’s exotic animal regulations require owners to obtain a permit from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).

The ODA lists prohibited animals, including some species of monkeys, bears, and large cats. Capybaras are not on the prohibited list, but owners must follow exotic animal ownership regulations.

It is crucial to note that owning a capybara requires a significant commitment of time, effort, and resources.

Capybaras are social animals and require a lot of attention and care. They need a large enclosure with access to water, a specialized diet, and veterinary care.

Researching and understanding the requirements of owning a capybara before considering ownership is essential.


Ownership Requirements


Capybaras are exotic animals that are not native to Ohio. Therefore, individuals who wish to keep capybaras as pets must adhere to specific ownership requirements to ensure the safety and well-being of both the animals and the public.


Permits and Licenses


In Ohio, individuals who wish to own a capybara must obtain a permit from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

The permit application process involves providing information about the animal’s intended housing and care, as well as proof of liability insurance coverage.

The permit must be renewed annually, and failure to do so can result in fines and animal removal.


Housing and Care Standards


Capybaras require specialized housing and care to thrive in captivity. They are social animals and should be kept in pairs or groups whenever possible.

Their enclosures should be at least 8 feet by 8 feet and 4 feet tall, with access to a pool or other water source for swimming.

Capybaras are herbivores and require a diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, hay, and grasses. They also require regular veterinary care, including annual check-ups and vaccinations.

In addition to meeting these basic standards, capybara owners must comply with all local and state laws regarding exotic animal ownership and public safety.

Overall, owning a capybara in Ohio requires significant time, resources, and expertise. Potential owners should carefully consider their responsibilities before bringing one of these unique animals into their homes.



Potential Legal Consequences

Keeping a capybara as a pet in Ohio can lead to potential legal consequences. According to Ohio’s exotic animal laws, capybaras are classified as a “restricted species,” which means they are not allowed to be kept as pets without a permit.

Individuals who violate Ohio’s exotic animal laws could face fines, legal charges, and the possibility of having their pet taken away.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is responsible for enforcing these laws and can investigate and seize animals being kept illegally.

Additionally, if a capybara were to cause harm to another person or their property, the owner could be held liable for any damages. This could result in costly legal fees and compensation payments.

It is important for individuals considering keeping a capybara as a pet in Ohio to research the laws and regulations surrounding exotic animals thoroughly. Obtaining a permit and ensuring proper care and housing for the animal is crucial to avoiding legal consequences.


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