Non-Traditional Livestock (Includes exotic/non-domestic animals)

In North Dakota, non-domestic animals are classified into three categories of Non-Traditional Livestock. 

Category 1 animals are those species generally considered domestic, or other species that are not inherently dangerous, that do not pose a health risk to humans, domestic or wild species, and do not pose a hazard to the environment as determined by the board.  Category 1 includes turkeys, geese and ducks morphologically distinguishable from wild turkeys, geese, and ducks, pigeons, mules, donkeys, asses, ratites, chinchilla, Guinea fowl, ferrets, ranch foxes, ranch mink, peafowl, all pheasants, quail, chukar, hedgehog, and degus.  Category 1 species do not require nontraditional livestock licensure, but must otherwise comply with laws and rules of the board.  Owners of pheasants, quail, and chukar are required to obtain a Permit to Possess, Propagate, or Domesticate (PPD) according to North Dakota Game and Fish Department regulations.  The PPD permit is issued through the Animal Health Division of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

Category 2 animals are certain protected species or those species that may pose health risks to humans or animals or may be environmentally hazardous as determined by the board.  Category 2 includes all nondomestic ungulates, including all deer and pronghorn, nondomestic cats not listed in category 3, waterfowl, shorebirds, upland game birds not listed in category 1, crows, wolverines, otters, martens, fishers, kit or swift foxes, badgers, coyotes, mink, red and gray fox, muskrats, beavers, weasels, opossums, prairie dogs, and other ground squirrels.  Owners of category 2 species must maintain nontraditional livestock licensure.  A Permit to Possess, Propagate, or Domesticate from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is required for some category 2 species.  The PPD permit is issued through the Animal Health Division of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

Category 3 animals are those species determined by the board to pose special concerns, including species which are inherently dangerous or environmentally hazardous.  Owners of category 3 species must maintain nontraditional livestock licensure and are subject to additional housing and care requirements.  A Permit to Possess, Propagate, or Domesticate from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is required for some category 3 species.  Category 3 includes the following species and their hybrids:

  • Wild species of the family suidae (any swine not considered domestic in North Dakota by the board)
  • Big cats, including mountain lion, jaguar, leopard, lion, tiger, and cheetah
  • Bears
  • Wolves and wolf-hybrids (any animal that is part wolf)
  • Venomous reptiles
  • Primates
  • Non-domestic sheep and their hybrids and non-domestic goats and their hybrids  

Exempt animals

Farmed elk are exempt from non-traditional livestock regulations because they are regulated as domestic animals under state law; however, farmed elk requirements are very similar to farmed deer requirements in regards to requirements for facilities, importation, identification, and reporting.  For more information on Farmed Elk and other Cervidae...

Unless the state veterinarian determines it is necessary based on disease incidence information or human health or safety concerns, the following species are exempt from non-traditional livestock requirements and importation requirements:

  • Arachnids
  • Invertebrates
  • Tropical freshwater and saltwater fish
  • Gerbils
  • Guinea pigs
  • Hamsters
  • Mice rats
  • Sugar gliders

Prohibited animals

  • Ownership of raccoons and skunks is prohibited.  A person may not keep a skunk or raccoon in captivity.  This does not apply to a zoo licensed by the Animal Care program of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or the United States Department of Agriculture.  Any animal kept in violation must be confiscated and disposed of. 
  • The board may prohibit ownership of any animal deemed to be a significant threat to human or animal health in North Dakota. 

Licensing requirements:  Those wishing to have a non-traditional livestock license must have appropriate facilities completed and inspected before submitting an application.  A license must be obtained prior to obtaining animals.  Animals imported from out of state must meet health requirements specific to that species.  License renewals and inventory reports are sent out to current licensees in December of each year and are due by January 31st.  Any births, deaths, sales, or purchases must be recorded on the form provided by the board. 

Penalties:  Any nontraditional livestock brought into this state illegally may be ordered by the board to be returned to the state of origin, or the board may order the animals slaughtered or destroyed.  If, after a hearing, the board finds that a person has brought, kept, or received any nontraditional livestock in this state and the livestock are not in compliance with the rules, a civil penalty up to five thousand dollars per violation may be assessed against that person.  A person who knowingly violates any rule of the board is guilty of an infraction.

Contact the office for more details, including specific housing and importation requirements or to request an application.

Specific health and testing requirements will be furnished by the State Veterinarian's office (701) 328-2655.

The importation of raccoons (Procyon lotor) and skunks (genus Mephitis) into the state of North Dakota is prohibited, except for exhibition.

Non-Traditional Livestock Contacts

Dr. Susan Keller, DVM

North Dakota State Veterinarian
State Board Of Animal Health 600 E Boulevard Ave. Dept. 602 Bismarck, ND 58505-0020
701-328-2655 701-220-0092
701-328-4567
doa-bah@nd.gov

North Dakota State Board of Animal Health

600 East Boulevard Ave. Dept. 602 Bismarck, ND 58505-0020
701-328-2655 1-800-242-7535
701-328-4567
doa-bah@nd.gov http://www.nd.gov/ndda/program/north-dakota-state-board-animal-health