If you spend any amount of time on social media, you'll find accounts of people who keep exotic animals as pets. From pumas to raccoons, crocs, and everything in between. It's always fun to watch those videos and see animals you typically don't see in casual, indoor settings, taking part in pet life. (I tell myself these are licensed professionals certified to work with these types of animals.)

Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash
Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash

The other day, someone at work asked me if I'd like to see their friend's pet raccoon. A pet raccoon? Where? They showed me photos of the trash panda, prompting me to ask where that person lived. "Benton City," I was told. Benton City?!  Obviously, my reaction was to question the legality of this. I've never had a situation come up where I needed to know Washington state raccoon law so I never bothered to research those laws until now.

Can you own a raccoon in Washington?

Despite being adorable little buggers, raccoons fall under Washington's Rabies Law, making them illegal to own. Also on this list are skunks, foxes, bats, and coyotes.

Is it legal to own a raccoon in the United States?

Oddly enough, yes. You can own a pet raccoon in 14 different states. I'll just get two of the obvious ones out of the way, those being Texas and Florida.

What is the criminal penalty for owning a raccoon in Washington?

If you are found to be in possession of a trash panda in the Evergreen State, you could be fined between $200 and $2,000 for each wild animal in your home.

There goes my American Dream.

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

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