Is it legal to own a hyena in Texas?

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Hyena

Is it legal to own a hyena in Texas? The answer depends upon who you are and whether you are an individual, a specified non-profit organisation or a specified commercial enterprise. But if you are just a standard individual you will need a certificate of registration (in effect a license) for the hyena as issued by an animal registration agency as also specified by the authorities.

Hyena

Hyena. Image by tonyo_au from Pixabay.

There are a long list of exceptions to the requirement of a licence. The exceptions include the following:

  • An agency acting in an official capacity within a county or municipality;
  • A research facility as defined under the Animal Welfare Act and amendments;
  • A member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums;
  • When transporting an abandoned, orphaned, infirm, or injured hyena or any other dangerous wild animal;
  • When the hyena is owned by a transient circus company;
  • An animal (which wouldn’t be a hyena but this is an exception) is used in circus performances;
  • When part of a circus during the time when the circuit is performing in Texas “or for a period not to exceed 30 days while the circuit is performing outside the United States;
  • If the hyena is in the possession or control of a television motion picture company during filming;
  • If the hyena is a mascot for a college or university and within their control or possession;
  • While being transported in interstate commerce to the state in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and as amended.

The above list may not be comprehensive and in any case the wording of the original statute is far more comprehensive. Please check the original statute i.e. the law by clicking here (sometimes links to outside websites fail for reasons beyond my control. If this has happened, sorry. Just search for the terms below and you’ll find it. Note: other conditions apply if you own or have custody of a hyena such as allowing the local authority to enter and inspect the premises and paperwork. You also have to display the certificate. The link above takes you to these conditions.

The bottom line is that it is legal to own a hyena in Texas when complying with the HEALTH AND SAFETY OF ANIMALS, CHAPTER 822. REGULATION OF ANIMALS.

In short, and as mentioned, if you are an individual living in Texas and you want to keep a hyena as a pet or otherwise then you will need a licence from the authorities which is described as a “certificate of registration”.