OREGON — Here’s an extinction to cheer about. Exotic pet permits will no longer be issued or renewed in Oregon, starting in 2011. This change will prevent wild animals like chimpanzees and bears from inadequate care, and will also protect the community from safety and health hazards posed by the so-called exotic pets. It’s a positive step toward acknowledging that wild animals belong in their natural habitat, not apartments or suburban homes. – Global Animal
SALEM — Exotic pet permits are about to go extinct in Oregon.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture says that, beginning in January, the state will not issue any new permits while it phases out the old ones.
The agency is acting at the direction of the 2009 Legislature, which ordered the change to protect the public against health and safety risks posed to the community by exotic animals.
The list of exotic pets includes some bears, crocodiles and nonhuman primates, such as capuchin monkeys and chimpanzees.
Current owners will be able to keep their pets until the animal dies or is sold.
“Once the animal dies or the owners are obliged to sell it, that’s the end of the permit,” said Dr. Don Hansen, the state veterinarian.
The state currently has 49 permits issued for 88 exotic animals. Nearly half of those permits, 24, are for exotic felines, which include servals, caracals, an ocelot, lynx, margay, and a Geoffray cat.
The next largest category of exotic animal permits is for nonhuman primates, 15 permits, which include capuchins, lemurs, Rhesus macaques, tamarins, a squirrel monkey, chimpanzee, vervet, cotton top and African green.
There are three permits for exotic canines, which include Fennec fox and silver red fox. Under the newly amended law, there are three permits for alligators. There are no permits issued for bears.
Oregon’s exotic animal law requires a permit for the following:
— Felines not indigenous to Oregon, except for domestic cats.
— Nonwolf canines not indigenous to Oregon, except for domestic dogs.
— Nonhuman primates.
— Bears, with the exception of the black bear.
— Members of the crocodile family.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture does have a permitting process for exotic animal exhibitors, breeders, and dealers which will remain unchanged.
But for Oregonians who simply want to own such an exotic pet, it is too late for anyone who does not currently have the animal or who has not owned the animal for at least a year, officials said.
“After Jan. 1, if we discover animals that have not been permitted, the owners will not be able to keep them,” Hansen said. “They will have to give them up or sell them legally to someone out of state.”
— The Associated Press