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Alert: Raleigh, NC

UPDATE 8/17: The Raleigh City Council just voted to send the animal ordinance to the Growth and Natural Resources Committee. The draft will be studied and likely amended. A hearing (with allowance for public comment) on the next draft will occur and a future City Council meeting.

UPDATE 8/12: We just received draft #2. The agenda states, “Council may act on the ordinance at this meeting or defer the matter for consideration at a later date.” The meeting will be virtually on Tuesday, August 17. Scroll down to find the meeting details at our UPDATE from 8/11.

There are some changes:

  1. The new term is “wild and dangerous animal” instead of “wild or exotic animal.”
  2. A minor but important change is the use of “and” instead of “or” as the conjunction in the definition. Previously, an animal only had to meet one of the listed criteria (use of “or”). Now, it must meet all three criteria to be considered a “wild and dangerous animal.” This means banned animals must be non-domesticated animals that are: 1.normally found in the wild state; 2. inherently dangerous to persons or property; AND 3. generally does not
    live in or about the habitation of humans. While there is still a concern and this remains vague, it does remove most species from a ban. HOWEVER, this could easily revert back to a blanket ban on all exotics and it is important for exotic animal owners to voice concern!
  3. The new definition still says “including, but not limited to.” This means that the list in the ordinance is NOT all-inclusive. It does NOT cover just those animals and could be enforced on animals not listed.
  4. The draft does clearly state that medically significant venomous snakes (vipers, cobras, copperheads, etc. but not species like hognose) and crocodilians are banned, along with some other examples.
  5. The ordinance would be effective immediately upon passage.
  6. There is NOT a grandfather clause! Anyone with “wild and dangerous animals” must dispose of or relocate them within 90 days of the effective date.
  7. There is a fine of $500 per animal (so 10 animals would be a $5,000 fine and could be that amount per day of possession if not seized by the City), a misdemeanor charge for each animal, reimbursement to the City for all “costs” incurred for them to seize, impound, maintain, and/or euthanize animals.
  8. There are a few limited exceptions. See (b) on page 4 of the draft 2 link below.

LINK to draft 2:

UPDATE 8/11: The August 17 Raleigh City Council meeting will be conducted *virtually.* Please sign up no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, August 13 for public comment at The meeting will be broadcast on, & RTN 11. Please contact or 919-996-3040 for how to listen via phone.

This item is at the end of the agenda. Here is a link to the August 17 meeting full agenda. The animal ordinance is item BB (scroll down):

UPDATE 8/4: The first draft of the Raleigh ban has been shared (link below). This is a blanket ban on ALL “exotic” or “wild” animals with a very broad, vague definition. Essentially, this would allow enforcement on almost any animal except fish (and even fish are not specifically excluded) and recognized “domesticated animals.” This ban is NOT limited to the animal examples listed in the draft. The definition clearly states, “including, but NOT limited to.”

The first draft would ban the keeping of any exotic or wild animal (defined as “any non-domesticated animal”) and also allows the City to seize and/or euthanize them immediately. This could be enforced upon small constrictor snakes (ball pythons, etc.), almost all common reptile/amphibian pets, parrots, sugar gliders, etc. This ban would be effective immediately upon passage without even consideration for current owners other than giving them 90 days to get rid of their animals.

Read the first draft at We have highlighted the key portions.

The penalty for keeping an exotic animal is:

  1. $500 per animal (so 10 animals would be a $5,000 fine, possibly per day of possession);
  2. a misdemeanor charge for each animal;
  3. reimbursement to the City for all “costs” incurred for them to seize, impound, maintain, and euthanize your animals;
  4. an additional charge for each day you keep the animal(s). This means the City can come to your house, fine/cite you, and then come back the next day and fine/cite you again (repeatedly) rather than seize your animal if you do not get rid of the animal on the same day.

Note that NO herps are included as examples of “domesticated animals.” Also, if you are told, “That is not our intent,” remember that intent does not matter when the enforcement officer comes knocking at your door and the language of the law allows him/her to euthanize your pet even if you are a responsible animal owner.

PLEASE: DO NOT JUST LOOK AT THE INCLUDED LIST OF EXAMPLE ANIMALS TO BE BANNED! That list is not all-inclusive! It plainly states “including, but NOT limited to.” That means this is just a sample of the literally thousands of species that could be seized and euthanized. All species that are not widely considered domesticated (i.e. domesticated dogs, housecats, horses, etc.) will be banned! The City would be able to fine you and seize any species that officials consider non-domesticated. For example, no reptiles are considered domesticated.


The city of Raleigh, North Carolina is facing a blanket ban on all “wild or exotic animals.” This proposed ban goes far beyond venomous reptiles via a vague definition that can be enforced on ALL exotic animals including commonly kept pet species. NOTE: We have a state alert posted at

In July 2021, City councilmember Knight has made it clear that he will be introducing a comprehensive ban at the August City Council meeting (August 17). This effort is happening after an irresponsible venomous snake keeper in Raleigh allowed a cobra to escape. North Carolina already has a comprehensive law regarding specific reptiles, including venomous snakes, with requirements for safe caging, and for protocols for handling, envenomation, and escape. However, all it takes is one incident to trigger knee-jerk legislation.

Raleigh lawmakers must hear from local residents (details below)! Councilmember Knight reported in July that he has not heard any opposition to a ban from his district.

The current state law is North Carolina General Statute, Chapter 14, Article 55. Titled “Regulation of Certain Reptiles,” (or just “Article 55”), it can be found at

Bans do not protect the public nor serve the public interest! Sound, rational, common-sense policy that fits reality is what the people deserve. Animal bans merely advance the radical animal rights agenda.

Remember that lawmakers must be educated on reptiles, reptile keeping, and the current state law! Realize that they know very little (if anything) about these subjects.

Who to contact

Email list:,,

General City Council phone number: 919-996-3050

Find your council member: Just scroll down for a Raleigh district map at After finding your council member, you can just click on his/her name. This will provide his/her email address and phone so you may communicate directly with your designated council member. Just like state and federal legislators, they want to hear from their constituents the most! They will need to hear opposition from people in their districts in order to stop this.

Next Raleigh City Council Meeting: August 17 beginning at 1:00 PM

The August 17 Raleigh City Council meeting will be conducted virtually/online. Sign up no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, August 13 for public comment at The meeting will be broadcast on, & RTN 11. Please contact or 919-996-3040 for how to listen via phone.

Contact the council members! Please call, email, and set in-office or virtual (i.e. Zoom) meetings!

  • Remember that you MUST be professional and civil at all times.
  • Please edit/personalize your letters.
  • Please supply North Carolina addresses when completing the forms!
  • Raleigh residents’ voices and opposition are needed!
  • In-person meetings and phone calls will have the most impact.
  • Always remember that lawmakers are public servants. They are there to listen to you and there is no reason to be intimidated or fearful of meeting with them.

Talking Points for calls, letters, and communications.
These can be used to customize calls/letters.

  1. North Carolina has a comprehensive law regarding certain reptiles, including venomous species. That law is General Statute, Chapter 14, Article 55 titled “Regulation of Certain Reptiles,” and it remains an effective basis for the punishment of irresponsible keepers, and the protection of North Carolina residents.
  2. The current state law did not fail! It only fails if the violator is not charged and the Raleigh resident was.
  3. Article 55 regarding certain reptile species is a common-sense and rational law.
  4. Reptiles are found in one of every twenty U.S. households, or kept by about 5% of Americans.
  5. A knee-jerk response in legislative action that ignores current law is inappropriate, while unjustly abolishing the right of stakeholders to engage in the legislative process.
  6. Raleigh needs to consider a common-sense approach by working with stakeholders and not an overreaching, knee-jerk ban lacking forethought.
  7. Council members must be properly educated on this matter, and those responsible stakeholders who will be affected, rather than getting caught up in the sensationalism and limelight of an incident.
  8. There are logical alternatives to bans. Lawmakers must not turn a blind eye to doing what is right by their constituents.
  9. Rather than solving any issues, bans create new problems including incentivizing criminals through an underground, black market and the fear-driven release of non-native animals.
  10. Laws that effectively create collective punishment are bad governance. Such approaches are senseless and unjust.

Sample Messaging

subject line: NO to “wild and dangerous” animal ban

Dear Mayor Baldwin and Raleigh City Council Members,

Please do not pass a ban on “wild and dangerous animals.” I state this as a law-abiding Raleigh resident who will be negatively impacted by any rash action taken due to a recent incident of one irresponsible Raleigh resident. The person guilty of this incident has already been charged and sentenced under current state law. Rather than focusing on reckless residents, this proposal would affect some responsible animal owners, too.

You must listen to responsible stakeholders rather than practicing collective punishment in response to one bad actor. Current state law, under Chapter 14, Article 55, has provided hefty punishment for the irresponsible snake keeper who violated this law. This clearly proves that the current law works. If Raleigh wants to implement a local law reflecting the state law, local residents and responsible stakeholders should be included in the drafting of this ordinance rather than passing a knee-jerk ban that will actually create many new problems.

Reactive bans lack the necessary forethought and research to avert unjust consequences. As a tax-paying, voting, and responsible Raleigh resident, my rights should not be stripped due to the actions of one person who violated a current law. You cannot justifiably ban such activities from responsible reptile keepers, known as herpetoculturists, and other competent exotic animal owners. There needs to, at minimum, be a consideration for those who currently have these animals.

This unjust proposed ban is unexpected from my state of North Carolina. Have a good day.


Include YOUR NAME (at least your first name) and “Raleigh resident”.