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USA State Specific Issues Issues that are specific to a particular state, or subregion within a state, should be appended to the existing relevant thread. NEW threads cannot be created in this forum.

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Old 07-01-2003, 05:59 PM   #1
Darin Chappell
Missouri state law issues

Here are some pertinent herps laws in Missouri as well as those of a couple of cities here. This was copied from the website of the Southwest Missouri Hepetological Society, which is now under reconstruction. Once the Society's site is back up and running, I will let everyone know.


Missouri Revised Statutes
Chapter 578
Miscellaneous Offenses
Section 578.023

August 28, 2001

Keeper of dangerous wild animals must register animals, exceptions --penalty.
578.023. 1. No person may keep any lion, tiger, leopard, ocelot, jaguar, cheetah, margay, mountain lion, Canada lynx, bobcat, jaguarundi, hyena, wolf, bear, nonhuman primate, coyote, any deadly, dangerous, or poisonous reptile, or any deadly or dangerous reptile over eight feet long, in any place other than a properly maintained zoological park, circus, scientific, or educational institution, research laboratory, veterinary hospital, or animal refuge, unless such person has registered such animals with the local law enforcement agency in the county in which the animal is kept.

2. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a class C misdemeanor.

(L. 1983 S.B. 211 9, A.L. 2001 S.B. 462)


Missouri state law is very clear on the subject of possession of specimens of native species. Missouri Wildlife Code, Chapter 9, section 3CSR10-9.110, General prohibition; Application states:

(1) A maximum of five (5) specimens of any native wildlife not listed in 3CSR10-4.110(3) or 3CSR10-9.240, except endangered species, bats, hellbenders and alligator snapping turtle, may be taken and possessed alive by a resident of Missouri without permit, but these animals shall not be bought or sold. Bones, skins, shells, and other parts of such wildlife may be possessed for personal use without permit, but these wildlife parts in any form shall not be bought or sold.

For the full text of the Missouri Wildlife Code, Chapter 9, Confined Wildlife: Privileges, Permits, Standards , please visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website.

Springfield, Missouri
Chapter 18 ANIMALS*
Sec. 18-13. Possession, display or sale of dangerous snakes or reptiles.


(a) Prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to keep, possess, display or offer for sale any dangerous or deadly snake or any dangerous or deadly reptile within the city.

(b) Exception. This section shall not apply to common carriers transporting snakes or reptiles for hire in the usual course of their business, or to any authorized zoo keeping and possessing them for exhibition purposes. An authorized zoo, for the purposes of this section, shall only be such zoos as are owned and maintained by the city or any department of any state or federal government or by a nonprofit organization which makes no charge for admission to such zoo, either directly or indirectly.

(Code 1981, 5-8)


Joplin, Missouri
Chapter 18 ANIMALS*
Sec. 18-211. Definitions.


Dangerous reptile means any alligator, crocodile and turtle of any size or any nonpoisonous snake of a constrictor nature capable of growing in excess of six feet in length, or any other reptile deemed by the director of public health and welfare to be dangerous to the public.

Keeper and person mean any person owning and/or actually keeping, having, using or maintaining any of the animals or poultry referred to in this article.

Permit means any permit granted by the department of public health and welfare.

Ratproof means a state of being constructed so as to effectively prevent the entry of rats.

Sanitary means any condition of good order and cleanliness which precludes the probability of disease transmission.

(Code 1977, 8-141; Ord. No. 97-092, 24, 6-2-97)

Cross reference(s)--Definitions generally, 1-2.

Sec. 18-212. Keeping wild animals.

No wild animals may be harbored or sold within the city limits; provided, however, that wild animals may be kept for exhibition purposes by circuses, zoos, scientific or educational institutions, research laboratories or veterinary hospitals, in accordance with such regulations as may be established by the director of public health and welfare. For the purpose of this section, the term "wild animals" shall include but not be limited to dangerous exotic carnivorous animals and bats (excluding ferrets), nonhuman primates, dangerous or poisonous reptiles, foxes, raccoons, skunks and turtles, or any wild animal crossbred to domestic dogs or cats.

(Code 1977, 8-143(a))

Here is a link to the Missouri Dept. of Conservation, and here is another link for the Missouri State General Assembly. From this latter link you can go to the State Senate, Legislature, or Legislative Joint Committees to find email addresses for those involved in any relevant legislation in our State.
Old 07-04-2003, 11:17 AM   #2

Thanks for the official verbage. The regulations in Springfield have driven me nuts since we moved here, because Springfield doesn't define "dangerous". We've gone to every government office we could find there, asked every person who we were referred to, and each of them told us, when asked what is being defined as a "dangerous reptile"...."I don't know." (Keep in mind we don't keep venomous as a rule, but have occasionally kept native venomous for photos, observation, etc.....but primarily we're concerned about the larger constrictors.)

Anyway, we moved to Taney County instead of Springfield, which brings us to another quandary. State law says we must register any deadly, dangerous reptile with the county law enforcement agency. I took that to mean the Taney County Sheriff's Department. The Taney County Sheriff's Department looked at me and said, "huh?" Since Taney County has no regs that the courthouse in Forsyth could find, they don't have a way to register any animals or ownership.

I realize that this leaves me wide open should a problem arise, and my theory thus far has been to educate as many people as possible about these animals and build a good reputation in our community so that we would not become the object of a campaign at any time. Any other suggestions?
Old 07-17-2003, 03:15 PM   #3


There was an amendment to the State law you posted. I might have missed it, but essentially, you have 3wks to register the animals. I believe the amendment was passed last year.

Ms. Terese,

Previously in my county they did not have a form either and looked befuddled at us when we went to register. We simply took them a copy of the posted State law along with a letter stating that we had 'dangerous' animals. They signed it and gave us a copy for our records.

They now have a form for people to fill out.

Good luck,

Michael B.
Old 07-23-2003, 03:28 AM   #4
Missouri State Links

State Homepage - http://www.state.mo.us/

State Legislature - http://www.moga.state.mo.us/

State Statutes/Code - http://www.moga.state.mo.us/homestat.asp
Old 08-03-2003, 08:20 PM   #5
Hello! First time posting on these forums.
I just moved to MO and have also been a bit confused about the 'dangerous' laws. From what I have read, the large constrictors would certainly meet the 'dangerous' criteria, however the pet stores sell plenty of Retics and Burms and such, and the people working those stores talk like its no big deal and you can do whatever you want. Do we register them only when they are over 6 or 8 feet??? Will the county have any idea what I am talking about??? Its all very confusing. I left several animals behind when I moved here, andhave been slowly replacing them after finding out that I could have had them in the first place.
If the government wishes to impose bans and new laws and such, they could at least keep the businesses, county and city officials, and keepers updated.
Old 02-14-2004, 02:24 PM   #6
missouri law

after living in mo. for awhile i think you will find that state government here pretty much sucks in every aspect.hell, just look at the roads! 2nd worst in the nation. unless you advertise them or walk around town with your snakes on your shoulders,i don't think it will be aproblem
Old 12-05-2004, 12:40 PM   #7
old guy
Missouri laws on reptiles are very vague

I have a friend that lives in the big Mo. ( where i use to live ) in a county that doesn't recognize the " register " scenario of his venomous snakes. In other words, they can't tell him if it's the local widlife dept. or the local county law enforcement agency to where he should register. Some of you state (and by reading the animal laws of Mo. ) it's the law enforcement agency. I was clearly told that i was to report to the county game/wildlife agency when i lived there. But the county wildlife guy said he was only interested in the big cats and other large exotics and not reptiles. So while it is a class c misdemeanor to not report , is it timed sensitive ? Like what does he do if he had just found this law out and has had these animals for years ? Another backlash scenario: > other than the situation of a visit by a emergency agency I.E. fire department, police, paramedics, what is the reason that you have to register in the first place ?
Old 09-27-2013, 03:41 PM   #8
What is the current statutes on blue/black racers? I'm asking because the blue racers are being classified as endangered in some areas. I enjoy the "temperamental" types of animals, and am seriously considering getting a pair of black racers and having a pile of Eggs of Evil. I'd release most of them, simply to support the wild populations. Is there a way to obtain a captive-bred blue racer or pair to breed? I'd like to have fun, AND do something worthwhile for the environment, and working to breed a pair of endangered bad-tempered snakes would do both.

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