Rules and Regulations
The FWC Captive Wildlife Office is currently reviewing rules related to the following:
- Reporting requirements for injuries, bites, and escapes involving captive wildlife (68A-6.018 & 68A-6.001, F.A.C.)
- Clarifying requirements regarding open top enclosures and barriers to prevent escapes (68A-6.009, F.A.C.)
- Adding prohibition on unauthorized persons breaching safety barriers (68A-6.009, F.A.C.)
This rule review is being done in an effort to increase public safety, animal welfare, and consistency of our rules. We welcome comments in regards to these rule topics and encourage submission of comments through the rulemaking comments form.
Standard Caging Requirements
The links below will redirect you to the Florida Administrative Register page, on which you can view the current rules outlining minimum caging requirements for housing captive wildlife. After clicking a link, on the page that opens for each rule, click View Rule under the Word Document icon to view the entire rule.
- 68A-6.011, F.A.C. (Structural Caging Requirements for Class I, II, and III Wildlife)
- 68A-6.012, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Captive Wildlife)
- 68A-6.0121, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Primates)
- 68A-6.0122, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Wild Felines)
- 68A-6.0123, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Wild Canids)
- 68A-6.0124, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Bears)
- 68A-6.0125, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Procyonids, Red Pandas, and Mustelids)
- 68A-6.0126, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Rodents, Rabbits, Hedgehogs, Tenrecs, and Solendons)
- 68A-6.0127, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Marsupials)
- 68A-6.0128, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Armadillos, Pangolins, Anteaters, and Sloths)
- 68A-6.0129, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Bats)
- 68A-6.01210, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Cervids, Bovids, and Suids)
- 68A-6.01211, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Equids, Camelids, Giraffids, Tapirs, Wild Goats and Sheep)
- 68A-6.01212, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Elephants)
- 68A-6.01213, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Rhinoceroses and Hippopatmuses)
- 68A-6.01214, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Reptiles and Amphibians)
- 68A-6.01215, F.A.C. (Standard Caging Requirements for Birds)
- 68A-6.013, F.A.C. (Exceptions to Standard Caging Requirements for Captive Wildlife)
- 68A-6.014, F.A.C. (Transportation Requirements for Captive Wildlife)
- 68A-6.015, F.A.C. (Caging Requirements for Mobile Exhibits)
Captive Wildlife Regulations
- 68-1.010, F.A.C. (General Regulations Relating to Licenses, Permits and Other Authorizations)
- 68A-6.001, F.A.C. (Captive Wildlife Definitions)
- 379.304, F.S. (Exhibition or sale of wildlife)
- 379.372, F.S. (Capturing, keeping, possessing, transporting, or exhibiting venomous reptiles, reptiles of concern, conditional reptiles, or prohibited reptiles; license required)
- 379.3711, F.S. (License fee for private game preserves and farms)
- 379.3712, F.S. (Private hunting preserve license fees; exception)
- 379.3761, F.S. (Exhibition or sale of wildlife; fees; classifications)
- 379.3762, F.S. (Personal possession of wildlife)
- 68A-6.002, F.A.C. (Classes of Captive Wildlife)
- 68A-6.003, F.A.C. (Permit Requirements and Exceptions)
- 68A-6.004, F.A.C. (Possession of Class I, II, and III Wildlife Permit Application Criteria)
- 68A-6.005, F.A.C. (Commercialization of Wildlife; Bonding or Financial Responsibility Guarantee)
- 68A-6.006, F.A.C. (Sanctuaries; Retired Performing Wildlife)
- 68A-6.007, F.A.C. (Elephant Rides)
- 68A-6.008, F.A.C. (Transfer of Wildlife and Record Keeping Requirements)
- 68A-6.009, F.A.C. (General Regulations Governing Possession of Captive Wildlife)
- 68A-6.016, F.A.C. (Public Contact with Captive Wildlife)
- 68A-6.018, F.A.C. (Injuries, Bites, and Escapes)
- 68A-6.017, F.A.C. (Possession and Exhibition of Venomous Reptiles and Reptiles of Concern)
- 68A-6.0171, F.A.C. (Caging, Facility, and Transportation Requirements for Venomous Reptiles and Reptiles of Concern)
- 68A-6.0172, F.A.C. (Record Keeping and Reporting Requirements for Venomous Reptiles and Reptiles of Concern)
- 68A-6.0173, F.A.C. (Identification of Non-Native Venomous Reptiles and Reptiles of Concern)
- 68A-6.018, F.A.C. (Injuries, Bites, and Escapes)
The FWC abides by Ch. 120, Florida Statutes, when making rules. In doing so, we notify the public of rulemaking activity through the Florida Administrative Register. Rulemaking often includes direct contact with those who may be affected, extensive discussions with stakeholder groups, and public meetings to gather input from interested parties.
Final decisions on rules usually happen at Commission meetings, held 5 times a year in locations throughout the state. FWC provides public notice of various meetings through our website calendar. To receive email updates, please subscribe to the Captive Wildlife email list through GovDelivery.
The FWC Captive Wildlife Section held four public meetings and a public hearing on the proposed rule change to 68A-6.003, F.A.C., and solicited online comments from interested stakeholders. Many concerns raised by stakeholders have been taken into consideration.
Updated rule language is available for review.
Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding this rule change can be found in the next section below.
FAQs: Rule 68A-6.003, F.A.C.
To prevent permittees who have been revoked or non-renewed due to violations from continuing to be involved in regulated activities without a permit. This will protect legitimate captive wildlife businesses and facilities from unfair and unscrupulous competition, increase public safety, and improve animal welfare.
“Facility” is referenced and defined in Chapter 68A-6, F.A.C. The below examples are not the sole references to a facility but provide the general definition and a few references.
- Captive wildlife maintained under permit shall, unless otherwise authorized, be maintained only at the facility specified in the permit application and approved by the Commission. (68A-6.004(1), F.A.C.)
- In order to assure public safety, the facilities for the housing of Class I and Class II wildlife shall meet the requirements of this rule. Compliance with these requirements is a necessary condition for licensure. For the purposes of this rule, a “facility” means the site at which Class I or Class II wildlife are kept or exhibited… (68A-6.010(1), F.A.C.)
- (3) Facility requirements:
- (a) Property ownership/lease:
- 1. The facility shall be constructed on property owned or leased by the applicant. (68A-6.010(3), F.A.C.)
No. A “non-renewal” in this rule refers to a renewal application that is denied by the Commission based on violations of law.
No. The provisions of 68A-6.003, F.A.C., outline the disposition of facilities and captive wildlife during and after a captive wildlife permit has been revoked or non-renewed (renewal application denied by the Commission) based on violations of law, not based on administrative errors.
No. The provisions of 68A-6.003, F.A.C., outline the disposition of facilities and captive wildlife during and after a captive wildlife permit/license has been revoked or non-renewed (renewal application denied by the Commission) based on violations of law, not based on administrative errors.
Numerous opportunities exist for applicants to correct mistakes on captive wildlife applications prior to a denial for an incomplete application. The Commission provides 30 days for the applicant to correct such mistakes once the Commission has made the required notification to the applicant outlining the mistakes/missing information.
Violations of law that result in non-renewal or revocation of any FWC permits can be found in Rule 68-1.010(2), F.A.C., which states the following:
(2) The Commission shall revoke or deny the renewal of any license, permit or other authorization based on any one or more of the following grounds:
(a) The licensee, permittee or other holder of authorization has received a disposition other than acquittal or dismissal of any provision of chapters 369, 379 or 828, F.S., or rules of the Commission, or other similar laws or rules in this or any jurisdiction that relate to the subject matter of the license, permit or authorization.
(b) The licensee, permittee or other holder of authorization failed at any time to comply with chapters 369, 379 or 828, F.S., or the rules of the Commission or other laws or rules relating to the subject matter of the license, permit, or other authorization.
(c) The licensee, permittee or other holder of authorization has submitted materially false information in any previously submitted or pending application or supporting documentation relating to the application, or documentation or reports required by the license, permit or authorization.
(d) The licensee, permittee or other holder of authorization is conducting activities under the license, permit or authorization in a manner that endangers the health, safety or welfare of the public, wild animal life, fresh water aquatic life or marine life.
No. The proposed amendments do not change the basis for revocation or non-renewal of a captive wildlife permit. The proposed amendments also do not change the current due process afforded for challenging the non-renewal or revocation of a permit.
Yes, provided the following is true:
- The revoked or non-renewed permittee is not an owner, officer, director, principal, employee, or agent of the entity or facility belonging to the new permitted employee.
- The revoked or non-renewed permittee holds no interest in the entity or facility belonging to the new permitted employee.
- The employee acquiring the wildlife is properly permitted to possess such wildlife.
The provisions of 68A-6.003, F.A.C., state that if an individual’s permit is revoked or non-renewed for violations of law, they are not permitted to exhibit or sell captive wildlife on behalf of another person or permittee for a period of three years. They may still work for another permittee in another capacity, but they may not participate in the sale or exhibition of wildlife for a period of three years.
Yes. The provisions of 68A-6.003, F.A.C., state that the wildlife previously authorized under the revoked or non-renewed permit would be required to be sold or otherwise transferred to an entity in which the revoked or non-renewed permittee holds no interest.
The decision to revoke or deny the renewal of a permit is reviewed by both Captive Wildlife section staff and the FWC Legal Office. Considerable due process is built into the revocation and non-renewal process. Permittees have a number of opportunities to appeal decisions and rulings to impartial administrative and judicial bodies. This rule amendment does not limit the due process afforded to permittees.
If the permittee receives a criminal citation, they may challenge its issuance in a criminal court. The decision to revoke or deny the renewal of a permit is reviewed by both Captive Wildlife section staff and the FWC Legal Office. The reasons for the revocation or non-renewal are set out in a letter and the permittee may appeal the decision to an impartial administrative or judicial body. In either scenario, the permittee is afforded due process to challenge any citation or action of the agency the permittee feels is unwarranted or without cause. If the permittee feels an Investigator has acted improperly in issuing a citation, he or she may contact the FWC Office of Inspector General and file a complaint.
If the business’ captive wildlife permit is not revoked or non-renewed due to a violation of law, the proposed rule should have no impact. The Commission has estimated that approximately 37% of all current captive wildlife permittees could be considered small businesses, although it should be noted that there is not enough information available to determine the number captive wildlife permittees who truly meet the statutory definition of a “small business.” The last five years of captive wildlife records indicate that less than 1% of captive wildlife permittees would have been affected by this rule if it had been in effect at the time. Small businesses whose permits are revoked or non-renewed would be impacted by the loss of wildlife inventory and the permitted facility and the potential economic loss of continued revenue generated by the previously authorized facility or wildlife. However, these losses could be mitigated by the rule’s 90-day allowance for the legal sale of the wildlife and the facility following final administrative disposition.
Captive wildlife staff worked hard to make the rule as clear as possible. Often, rules refer to other rules or statutes for definitions or requirements, and this can make rules difficult to understand sometimes.