THERE HAS BEEN A CHANGE IN THE INTERPRETATION OF THE LAW REGARDING PRIVATELY POSSESSED FOXES.
A permit is now required for for ALL red, silver, and cross red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), as well as any color phases that closely resemble them (for example, a pearl cross could be reasonably construed as being close enough to a silver cross, a naturally occurring color phase in Michigan.) This is also on top of the health permit and sales receipt required to bring any new fox into the state.
THERE IS NO GRANDFATHERING! Anyone currently in possession of a red, silver, cross or similar color MUST apply for a permit. The law has NOT changed in regard to the Michigan Captive Wild Animal Order, but rather the officials have chosen to interpret the law differently.
The DNR officials recognize that they have not been consistent with the law and will allow time for people who previously had foxes thought to be unaffected by the law to apply for a permit. If you plan to get a fox affected by the law in the future, you must apply for a permit before bringing the fox home.
Gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) still require a permit to be held in captivity, this has not changed.
Non-native species such as Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus), fennec foxes (Vulpes zerda), swift foxes (Vulpes velox), and hybrids of red and arctic foxes do not require a permit, but still require a health certificate (if coming into the state) and sales receipt or other proof the animal was legally acquired from a breeder.
It is unknown at this time, however, if the interpretation could change and say, swift foxes might be considered close enough in resemblance to a gray fox. Please keep an eye out for any potential change of interpretation.
If you are in doubt as to whether or not you need a permit, contact the department or simply apply for a permit regardless of your fox's color if you wish to be on the safe side.
Information about applying for the permit:
(Updated March 2014)
https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/ ... 4730_7.pdf
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/C ... 659_7.html
Quick information about applying for the permit:
MINIMUM ENCLOSURE SIZE AND REQUIRED AMENITIES
Badger, Bobcat, Fox, or Raccoon:
Single animal - eight feet by six feet and six feet high.
Add a minimum of 24 square feet of floor space for each additional animal.
Clawing logs and a two feet by two feet and two feet high den site required for each animal.
A 14-inch by 36-inch protected shelf area shall be provided for each animal. Bobcat or raccoon platforms shall be
at least three feet above the floor. Fox and badger platforms shall be one foot above the floor.
-Duly note that even though foxes do not require "clawing logs", they will still be required to be in the enclosure from experience with those who have received permits from the department.
Though an enclosure is required, do not be alarmed - this does not mean that the fox must be in the enclosure at all times. You just simply have to have one.
Permits cost $45 to apply for and must be renewed every couple of years.
Regarding the law that lists silver foxes as domestic species in Michigan - this does not void this interpretation of the law. This law was created for fur farms to be able to have protection over their animals and doesn't change the law surrounding privately owned foxes.
For more information regarding the possession of wildlife, or the application and permit process, please contact: Permit
Specialist, Michigan DNR, Wildlife Division, PO Box 30444, Lansing, Michigan 48909-7944 (Telephone: 517-284-6210)
I've posted this in a couple of fox FB groups, so if you're part of those you'll have seen this, but I wanted to post it here as well.
Thank you to Crafty for contacting the DNR and getting this all cleared up!
Personally, I wonder if it would be wise to just get a permit regardless of the color. The law is pretty vague now at this point when it says any color resembling a wild color, well, I mean, there are some colors that are pretty similar to wild colors. Fire and ice being diluted red , a whitemark just having white markings over silver fur, 'autumn fires' just being red foxes with the liver gene expressed instead of black, heck, even red marbles/sun glows resemble leucistic foxes and amber foxes have been documented to show up in some populations. Someone who doesn't know anything about foxes could easily mistake a ranch color for something found in the wild. I mean, my arctic fox was mistaken for a gray fox a few times when she was in her summer coat. Considering when the DNR officials were contacted, they seemed confused at the concept of ranched colors and called them 'designer foxes' and I personally wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of the law if they decide that a fox is too close to a wild color to be kept without a permit.