The process of owning an exotic animal in Washoe County requires numerous steps. Besides a non-refundable $50 application fee, applicants must include a plot plan, which shows the location of the animal enclosure on the property. Also required is a drawing of the animal enclosure, showing in detail the type of construction in which the exotic animal would potentially live. Applicants must also submit a disaster preparedness plan, including a detailed evacuation plan of the animal and alternative housing. Washoe County also requires a notarized statement concerning what will happen to the animal in the case of its death or disabling injury or illness of the potential owner.
Washoe County holds the ability to destroy an exotic animal — as well as domestic or wild — when it’s captured if there is reason to believe it has bitten a person or has rabies.
Permits are approved or denied by the Washoe County Animal Control Board. The Animal Control Board supervises the powers and duties in the consideration, approval, suspension and revocation of exotic animal, kennel and cattery permits. At least one member of the Animal Control Board must have previously owned an exotic animal or has other qualifications demonstrating knowledge in the care and supervision of exotic animals. Exotic animal permit applications are discussed and voted on at monthly Animal Control Board public meetings.
Washoe County notifies residents living within 200 feet of the location of the exotic animal that a permit for its ownership is being sought. The notification indicates the type of animal, the address of the applicant and the date of the hearing of the permit. If anyone objects to the permit, a written objection must be submitted within 15 days of the hearing.
To obtain an exotic animal permit application, visit www.washoecounty. us/animal/permit.html.