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Animal Cruelty Hotline:

1-855-622-7722

For all other calls and inquiries
see our contact details.

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​Can I have a wild or exotic animal as a pet?

Under provincial and federal law, it is illegal to keep a wild animal, as designated under the BC Wildlife Act, as a pet. Very rarely, the provincial government issues permits for the personal possession of wild animals.

The BC SPCA does not support keeping wild or exotic animals as pets due to their unique physical and emotional needs. Both types of animals – those found wild in Canada and those exotic in Canada but wild to other countries – will suffer in care because of their specialized needs.

Under provincial law, it is illegal to keep certain dangerous exotic animals like tigers, primates or crocodiles as pets. Many cities also have exotic animal bylaws that make it illegal to keep some or all exotic pets. Check with your local municipality for a list of banned exotic animals.

Read more about exotic animals and the law.

If you are concerned about someone owning a wild or exotic animal illegally, please contact our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722.

Wild northern pygmy owl hunting in snowy weather sitting on a wood post with a dead prey
Photo credit: Tania Simpson