DC Health

DC Agency Top Menu

-A +A
Bookmark and Share

Special Events - Exotic Animal Permits

Ceasing Approvals of Animal Specialty Permits

Dear Sir/Madam: Effective April 14, 2021, DC Health is ceasing approvals of animal permits while it re-evaluates processes in light of updated Mayoral Orders addressing re-opening activities in the District.  We should have more information after May 1st, so we ask that you follow up then. We appreciate your cooperation and apologize for any inconveniences this may cause.  Thank you.

DC Code

DC Code § 8-1808(j) reads that:

(j)(1) Except as provided in this subsection, a person shall not import into the District, possess, display, offer for sale, trade, barter, exchange, or adoption, or give as a household pet, any living member of the animal kingdom, including those born or raised in captivity, except the following:

(A) Domestic dogs, excluding hybrids with wolves, coyotes, or jackals;

(B) Domestic cats, excluding hybrids with ocelots or margays;

(C) Domesticated rodents and rabbits;

(D) Captive-bred species of common cage birds, including chickens;

(E) Non-venomous snakes, fish, and turtles, traditionally kept in the home for pleasure rather than for commercial purposes;

(F) Ferrets; and

(G) Racing pigeons, when kept in compliance with permit requirements.

(2) A person may offer any of the species enumerated in paragraph (1) of this subsection to a public zoo, park, or museum for exhibition purposes.

(3) This section shall not apply to federally licensed animal exhibitors; provided, that the Mayor shall retain the authority to restrict the movement of any prohibited animal into the District and the conditions under which those movements are made.

(4) The Mayor may allow a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, licensed veterinarian, or licensed animal shelter to maintain an animal prohibited in this subsection for treatment or pending appropriate disposition.

A person shall not display, exhibit, or otherwise move animals in the District as part of a circus, carnival, or other special performance or event, without first obtaining a permit, issued by the Mayor, that governs the care and management of the animals.

Exceptions to this law apply for special events and educational purposes.

To apply to bring an otherwise illegal animal into the District of Columbia, please call (202) 535-2323 or complete the application below and email to [email protected]. There is no cost for a Special Event/Exotic Animal Permit. For Species Requirements, please visit
Contact Phone: 
(877) 672-2174
Contact Fax: 
(202) 727-8471
Contact TTY: 
Office Hours: 
Monday to Friday 8:15 am to 4:45 pm
Service Location: 

Health, Department of

GIS Address: 
899 North Capitol Street, NE