Common pets banned in the US


Before bringing your new fur buddy home and proudly showing it to your neighbors you might want to check this list of banned common pets in the US in order to avoid trouble with the law.

photo: Mirko Graul/Shutterstock

Hedgehogs – their cuteness may catapult them to internet fame, but hedgehogs are banned in various US states including Georgia, California, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. The spiny mammals are also illegal to keep as pets in Washington, DC, and all five boroughs of New York City.
Hedgehogs not only threaten local eco-systems by competing with native species for habitat and food — they can also carry diseases and bacteria such as salmonella.


Pitt Bulls and other dangerous dogs – Iowa, Kansas, and Ohio are the states with the highest volume of breed-specific legislation (BSL) regarding pit bulls and other breeds perceived as “dangerous,” such as Doberman Pinschers, and Rottweilers.
According to, just under 1,100 US cities have legislation that bans pit bulls or calls for their mandatory sterilization.

photo: wikipedia

Hamsters – pet hamsters are prohibited in Hawaii because, like gerbils, they can escape into the wild and harm native plants and animals.


Turtles with shells smaller than 4 inches long – the US banned the sale of small turtles as pets in 1975 to prevent the spread of salmonella — a bacteria that the reptiles are known to carry. Before the law was passed, there were an estimated 280,000 turtle-related infections each year in the early ’70s, primarily in young children.

photo: eurobanks/iStock/Thinkstock

Ferrets – in addition to posing a threat to native wildlife, ferrets have been known to bite people. Without vaccination, they can spread rabies.
As with hedgehogs, it’s illegal to keep ferrets as pets in California, Hawaii, New York City, and Washington, DC. These mammals — which belong to the same genus as weasels — are also prohibited in other cities such as Dallas, Texas, and Columbia, Missouri.


Hybrid cats – hybrid felines, including common breeds like Bengals and Chausies — are banned in nine US states and two cities (Denver, Colorado, and Seattle, Washington).
The extent of regulation varies by state, but in some cases, Bengals need to be at least four generations removed from their Asian ancestors.


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