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Oregon phasing out permits for exotic pets

SALEM, Ore. – 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 state veterinarian Dr. Don Hansen.

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.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture does have a permitting process for exotic animal exhibitors, breeders and dealers that will remain unchanged.

But for Oregonians who simply want to own such an exotic pet, it is too late for anyone 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.”


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