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Hello, Hello (also law questions)

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DrQuack
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Hello, Hello (also law questions)

Postby DrQuack » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:52 am

Hey, everyone. :) I'm a member of countless message boards and communities, so hopefully I'll catch onto everything quickly here as well.

So, for a certain amount of time I've been interested in owning exotic animals (though I'm not really sure what "exotic" officially means, so let's just go with "pets out of the norm"). I mean, I've always wanted pet raccoons, foxes, you name it; but it wasn't until I started giving it some real thought that I considered possible issues with the law.

Here's what I have going on currently: I live in Oregon, and I'm interested in owning a pet fox. I've read plenty about how they behave and the innumerable precautions to take (they ain't dogs), and I have memory of very few points in my life where I didn't have a demanding pet, so I'd hope I'm prepared -- I'm ready for anything it will throw at me, including the time and dedication. I think a fox would mainly just be a really neat pet to have, and the shock of any friends I might have over would definitely be a plus. :P

Aaaaanyway, I've looked up the laws, but I keep finding contrasting results where some say one breed is "more legal" than another while others say none are legal at all. I took a gander at the laws on this message board, but, while they're quite detailed, I'm still left confused. I think I'd like a blatant, "this is what you can do" answer. :P

In regards to my lacking knowledge, I'm not entirely sure where to begin... I believe my first question would be, what is a USDA license? From what I've gathered, I cannot own any breed of fox that is native to the state (reds, greys, etc.) under any reasonable circumstances for myself, but I can have a different breed as long as I have a USDA license. Is this right? I Googled what a USDA license is, but I never really found any clear results and wasn't even sure if I was looking at the right answer. The only thing I think I know about it is that it involves a sort of inspector to make sure I'm treating the animal well or something along those lines.

So, yes -- first thing is how do I obtain a USDA license, and what exactly does it mean to have one?

Thank you for any help. icon-smile
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Alynn
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Re: Hello, Hello (also law questions)

Postby Alynn » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:14 pm

Welcome to the board!

I don't know much about the legalities of foxes in Oregon, but TamanduaGirl should be able to shed some light on that. As far as I know, you cannot have foxes as pets, even with a USDA license.

I would also hope you have more intentions in owning a fox other than having a neat pet and to give your friends a shock. The initial uniqueness wears off very fast, and we end up with a lot of people rehoming their foxes afterwards, and especially once behavioral issues factor in. A fox is a roughly 10-15 year commitment, and even all the way up to 20 years. If you're ready to handle that sort of responsibility, then sure. Another thing to note is that just as many, if not more people will react to having a fox or other exotic with disgust as much as curiosity. You'll have people ranting at you about how cruel it is to have a wild animal, how your pet probably has rabies, how one day it's going to 'turn on you and kill you' (which was said to me despite having a 15 lb fox). That itself can get exhausting, and you may be one of the unlucky few that also has to deal with neighbors calling the police, complaining, and otherwise campaigning to have your animal taken away from you because of their ignorance in their belief that the animal is a danger to the public or illegal even if it isn't.

It's just another thing to consider and remember, and in my experience having to deal with that far eclipsed the curiosity people had.

Also just a quick note - there are no breeds of foxes, just species and color variations. It'll be easier to find information on species knowing that.

Having said all that, I again say I don't know much about Oregon, but this thread might get you started:
viewtopic.php?f=71&t=9071
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Ash
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Re: Hello, Hello (also law questions)

Postby Ash » Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:30 pm

Hi, and welcome to the forum. :)

A USDA license is a federal license you must obtain from the US Department of Agriculture. There are three different types: A. Breeder, B. Broker, C. Exhibitor. Depending on what you wish to do with your fox will determine which license you need.

Class A. Breeder: You would have to breed your fox and sell the babies.
Class B. Broker: This would have nothing to do with your fox; it involves selling animals that don't belong to you, so this is definitely a license you won't need.
Class C. Exhibitor: This is using your fox as an educational animal, in other words, exhibiting it; you can do educational shows at schools, for little public assemblies, special events, birthday parties.

The Exhibitor license is what you would want (Class C). But if you do get USDA licensed, you MUST use the fox as an educational animal, otherwise your license will be revoked. USDA is very strict about giving out permits, and they're cracking down on all the people that get them just to be able to legally keep their animal of choice as a pet. So you would definitely have to do educational work with your fox--several times a year. So it's not a big deal.

Before you obtain a USDA license, you must request a packet from the US Department of Agriculture. Here is one of the ways to request a packet: https://web01.aphis.usda.gov/ApplicationKit.nsf/application?OpenForm.

They will send the packet to you through the mail and include a handbook with it. You will fill out the paperwork, pay a fee, and then send it back. In a few weeks an inspector will contact you for an inspection, and they will set up a date and time with you. If the inspector deems your setup/paperwork satisfactory, you will receive your USDA license in the mail.

Once a year, a USDA inspector will come on a random day and carry out an inspection of the premises/paperwork. If you are in compliance, you'll get a clean report. If not in compliance, you'll receive violations. These violations will have to be resolved within a month, after which, the inspector will return to inspect again. If violations are still present, your license may be revoked. All violations are put into a public-accessible database on the USDA website.

If you have anymore questions about the permitting process, please let me know. I went through the process before (short of receiving an inspector), and am going to reapply again sometime soon. There are also several members here who are USDA licensed, TamanduaGirl (from Oregon) included.

The initial uniqueness and coolness factor of owning a fox wears off in less than a year, lol. After that, it becomes stinky hard work--and you'll find yourself warning others why it isn't a good pet. :lol: So be sure you're ready and in it for the long haul. ;) They can be great pets if you're dedicated and you know what to expect prior to bringing one home. I absolutely love my red fox to death, and I wouldn't trade him for the world.

"Exotic" pets are anything that is not typically kept as a pet. So anything from a fox, raccoon, tiger, bear, etc. However, laws may differentiate between an "exotic" animal and a "native" animal: an exotic being something that is not indigenous to the US or state, and a native animal being an animal indigenous to the US or state. In the state laws, they will give their definition of an "exotic" or "wild" or "dangerous" animal, usually quite thoroughly.

And as said, there are no "breeds" of foxes. ;) Just species, and within the species there may be different color morphs. Species would be redfox, gray fox, and arctic. Color morphs would be: silver redfox, red redfox, calico redfox, polar arcticfox, shadow arcticfox etc.

Anyway, welcome to the forum. :) It's great to have you here, and I'm certain you'll learn a lot. So stick around, read up, and ask questions. Owning a fox may not be too far away in the future for you.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, 3 tarantulas
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DrQuack
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Re: Hello, Hello (also law questions)

Postby DrQuack » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:12 pm

Thanks a ton for the info! And I apologize for the breed mix up. xP

Yeah, fortunately I have been looking at all the options objectively. I've seen a lot of how they can be destructive and not extremely affectionate, and overall the gist I got is that they really don't make excellent pets. But, it's not just because it's neat -- I'm in it for the exotic experience, and it's not the first time I've needed to be dedicated for a long period of time. I've done a number of demanding, relatively odd things just for the experience. I guess you could call it a sort of hobby. :P

Well, obtaining a license for educational shows isn't so bad; in fact, that just adds to the experience! I'd love to do shows/presentations... I remember some guys bringing hawks, owels and even a wolf to my school when I was in 1st or 2nd grade. My only problem with that would be finding ways to volunteer, but that can't be too hard (and hey, if it is, I just won't get a fox. This isn't a solid decision locked in; as of now it's just a consideration I want to make sure I'm legally able to do before taking any action). How would I go about with my proof, though? Would I just have the school or whatever sign a paper I can show? Also, you said birthday parties, so does that mean my shows don't HAVE to be for a very official audience (a school or company)? This might not be a good idea, but would I go about that with a craigslist ad for shows or something similar? I want to make myself familiar with what others would consider reasonable.

So, red and grey appear to be out of the question, despite the color variations, yes? How many species are there?
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Re: Hello, Hello (also law questions)

Postby Alynn » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:44 pm

Can't really answer any of your other questions, but the species most commonly kept as pets in the US are red foxes, arctic foxes, gray foxes, swift foxes (currently only one known breeder) and fennec foxes. Corsac foxes are also available in the UK but thus far we haven't had anyone introduce them to the pet trade here in the US.
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Re: Hello, Hello (also law questions)

Postby TamanduaGirl » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:57 pm

Now that Ash took care of the bulk of it. One little correction USDA will inspect AT LEAST once a year. I'm in Oregon so I can tell you it's 2 times a year at least in the areas my inspector cover as well as North of hear (Portland area but that is another inspector).

Oregon laws are contradictory in places, yes, including foxes. I contacted OF&W and was told that at this point any fox(exotic or native) can not be a pet but fur farm, licensed rehabs and those with USDA license can have them. So the selection is no longer limited to exotic only. But when you get close to getting one call yourself they legaly can change the laws now anytime they want. You will also need to get an import permit from ODA to bring it into the state. This is a bit more hassle than most states as the breeder will need to have the vet call during the health check to get an import number. When I brought Pua in I had the seller do this and add the cost onto my over all cost.
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Re: Hello, Hello (also law questions)

Postby DrQuack » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:53 am

Well, it all sounds doable. :) I must ask, though, how do you in particular volunteer for shows and such? I mean, how do you continue to find places that are looking for a show/presentation? Do you have an ad, or are you on some kind of list?
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Re: Hello, Hello (also law questions)

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:29 pm

DrQuack wrote:Well, it all sounds doable. :) I must ask, though, how do you in particular volunteer for shows and such? I mean, how do you continue to find places that are looking for a show/presentation? Do you have an ad, or are you on some kind of list?


Well it depends on if you want to get paid or not. You can do summer reading programs at the library or call and offer to do shows for places like schools, preschools, or senior centers. For free most will likely jump at the chance but it's a lot harder to get people to pay. You can email them all with an offer(spam them, ha) but sending fliers in the mail is better and calls can be even better still. There are also some sites you can advertise on like partypop. It doesn't hurt to try and get in the local paper too. Just call them and explain what you do and they may be interested as a local human interest story.

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