The ruling is part of a lawsuit over whether DNR could regulate or ban the hunting of captive deer. It has surprised animal advocates and is raising concern about a lack of regulation.
The Journal Gazette reports the DNR previously had issued special permits to people who owned wild animals as pets. The permit included extensive enclosure and care requirements for the animals and gave the agency inspection powers.
DNR Spokesman Phil Bloom says the agency had regulated the animals through administrative rules. The permits were issued for animals including venomous snakes, black bears, alligators, bobcats, Gila monsters, wolves, tigers and cougars.