Arlington County Bans Ownership of Wild or Exotic Animals

Posted on September 21, 2017

The Arlington County Board took action at its September 19, 2017 meeting  to amend the Animal and Fowl Code to ban the ownership of wild and exotic animals. Arlington County staff recommended approval of the code change to provide better protection to residents and animals and to align Arlington’s code more closely with other local jurisdictions. The legislation safeguards Arlington County residents and first responders from zoonotic disease transmission and other physical hazards that exotic animal ownership can bring while also upholding and increasing animal welfare standards.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington spoke in favor of the legislation at the public meeting and stated that the change aligns with the League’s position on ownership of exotic animals. Other speakers in favor of the legislation were local residents and representatives of the Humane Society of the United States, the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies, Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, the Animal Welfare Institute, and Stahl Exotic Veterinary Services.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington Animal Control department provided professional assistance to county staff in drafting legislation that would be progressive, fair, and enforceable. The list of banned animals includes non-human primates, crocodilians, wolf hybrids, ratites (flightless birds), as well as any other warm-blooded mammal that can normally be found in the wild state. Current owners of banned animals may be grandfathered through a registration process. While not banned, non-venomous snakes must be kept in humane and secure enclosures.

The Animal Welfare League applauds the Arlington County Board of Supervisors for taking another step toward better protection for animals and for residents.

See the County press release: