Pets can be wonderful companions who enrich our lives. However, it’s important to remember that some pets can cause injury. Additionally, some types of pets are more likely to cause injury than others. Accordingly, New York law prohibits residents from owning certain pets.

For example, you may be wondering whether it is legal to own a pet tiger in New York. The quick answer is no. New York law does not allow private individuals to own, exchange, or otherwise transfer wild animals. Keep reading to learn more.

Owning a Pet Tiger in New York is Illegal

Under New York law, the types of animals that qualify as wild include:

  • Nonhuman primates and prosimians
  • Cats that are not domesticated animals
  • Dogs that can’t be domesticated, such as wolves
  • Bears
  • The majority of venomous reptiles
  • Crocodiles

It’s also worth noting that New York City has its own additional list of animals that can’t be kept as pets. Animals that may be safe pets in a rural setting might not necessarily be safe to keep in an urban area. If you’re thinking of getting a unique pet, you should strongly consider researching local laws.

There’s a Good Reason Not to Own a Tiger as a Pet

There are some states in the nation where owning a pet tiger is legal in certain circumstances. Those states all tend to have lax animal rights laws and regulations.

However, owning a tiger as a pet is unwise in any state. Tigers are not suitable for domestication. The United States Department of Agriculture has thoroughly researched this topic. The USDA’s determination is that only trained professionals are qualified to work with tigers.

If you don’t have the proper qualifications, your pet tiger could injure or kill you. You need to understand how these animals behave to handle them. Additionally, if you own a pet tiger, there’s a very good chance the animal will harm someone else. This will likely be someone who visits your home, but a tiger can also escape and cause others harm.

Tigers are accustomed to a certain environment and overall lifestyle. Those who keep tigers in zoos and similar exhibits do their best to model their living situation on their natural habitat and needs. Owning a tiger in a large city involves owning a dangerous animal in crowded spaces — a recipe for disaster.

Tiger Owners and Liability

New York doesn’t merely have laws prohibiting the ownership of wild animals. It also has laws allowing victims to seek compensation when another person’s dangerous pets injure them. A victim can seek money for their medical bills, lost wages, and other damages related to the attack.

Collecting compensation can be relatively easy for a victim. Wild pet attacks create strict liability for a pet owner. Owning an animal as dangerous as a tiger is a form of negligence. A victim of a tiger attack would only have to show that the negligent party owned the tiger to recover compensation.

That said, one has a better chance of recovering full compensation if they have legal representation. In the aftermath of a violent animal attack, a lawyer can help by determining the extent of a victim’s injuries, negotiating for a fair settlement, and more. Regardless, the main point to take away from this is simple: owning a tiger in New York is illegal.