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Potentially Dangerous Wild Animals

Skagit County Code 7.04 prohibits the possession of “potentially dangerous wild animals.” The list of prohibited animals includes, for example:

  • Wolves and wolf-hybrids
  • Cougars and other large cats (also regulated by the federal Captive Wildlife Safety Act)
  • Bears
  • Hyenas
  • Elephants
  • Rhinoceros
  • Nonhuman primates (apes, chimpanzees)
  • Crocodiles and alligators
  • Many species of poisonous snakes


No grandfathering of these animals is permitted. The penalty for illegal possession is $2,000 per day, per animal.

Skagit County’s animal law is based on the state dangerous wild animal law, which also prohibits ownership of potentially dangerous wild animals. Animals possessed in violation of these laws must be taken to an appropriate facility; RCW 77.15.250 prohibits the release of deleterious exotic wildlife into the wild.

Skagit County’s animal control laws are administered by the Skagit County Sheriff’s Animal Control Authority. Land use approvals and permits issued by Planning and Development Services do not affect enforcement of the animal control laws.