Correction: The Richmond City Council voted on Monday night to revise a proposed law that would prohibit the ownership or purchase of exotic or wild animals within city limits. This decision has been accurately reflected in the updated version of the article.
The amended law, known as Section 4-401 of the City of Richmond Code, now prohibits Richmond residents from owning, breeding, buying, or selling animals such as monkeys, wolves, bears, and feral cats. Violation of this law will be considered a Class 3 misdemeanor.
The original version of the law included a ban on the ownership of venomous reptiles and amphibians. However, the City Council changed this provision in May. Under the proposed law, individuals who can prove ownership of one of these animals before the law goes into effect will be able to register them with the city.
Certain domestic species such as rabbits, hamsters, and fish are not considered exotic and would be allowed under the proposed legislation. However, exceptions will be made for licensed venues such as zoos and wildlife rehabilitation centers.
In 2017, when the city previously considered an exotic pet ban, the measure received support from animal welfare organizations like the National Humane Education Society. However, this round of proposed restrictions has faced opposition from some exotic animal enthusiasts, including representatives of the Virginia Falconers Association, who voiced their concerns at the June 12 City Council meeting.
The ordinance will be reviewed again on Monday, July 24. Below is a FAQ section to provide further information on the revised law:
Q: What animals are now prohibited under the revised law?
A: The revised law prohibits the ownership, breeding, buying, or selling of animals such as monkeys, wolves, bears, feral cats, and venomous reptiles and amphibians.
Q: Can individuals currently owning these animals continue to do so?
A: If individuals can prove ownership of these animals before the law goes into effect, they will be allowed to register them with the city.
Q: Are there any exceptions to the ban?
A: Licensed venues such as zoos and wildlife rehabilitation centers will be exempt from the ban.
Q: Are there any domestic animals included in the ban?
A: No, domestic animals such as rabbits, hamsters, and fish are not considered exotic and are allowed under the proposed legislation.