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Skunk legality in Illinois

Exotic legal issues, bans, laws, regulations, Animal Rights discussions etc.

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haira32
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Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby haira32 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:29 pm

Hello all!
This is the same post I posted in the Little Critters page.
I live in the state of Illinois. Unfortunately it is one of the only midwest states that do not allow pet skunks. I have been doing alot of research and am asking your help change this. Perhaps that is a tall order but the law seems very hypocritical (but thats politics). I know Deb at SkunkHaven is also trying to change this law and i have emailed her about it what else can be done. Unfortunately, as you know, many people rush into purchasing exotic pets with out proper research. Perhaps if a permit was required for ownership, that would be better than the law now. However I say that after reading Blacksagephoenix's post and hearing the awful treatment when the previous ownder did claim to have a permit.
The Illinois law on skunks as pets is rather cryptic to me. I do not fully understand why they are not allowed. It seems like it is because of a lack of rabies vaccine along with the fact that they are a native species. The latter reason seems a bit out there for the law to be interpreted seeing as many surrounding states allow skunks as pets where they are still native and that Illinois allows red foxes to be kept (that are not the native red color). Perhaps if they law was to allow pet skunks that were not the native black and white pattern. As for the rabies vaccine, in the research I have done it seems like there is a rather useful rabies vaccine avalible. Is there anything else that can be done to help this cause? I remember a few years ago on the news a little boy was praised with changing his county's exotic pet laws to allow hedgehogs. If a child can make a change, why couldnt we?
Thanks for the help and advise,
Haira
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Ash
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Re: Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby Ash » Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:15 pm

The reason behind skunks being banned in Illinois is because they are susceptible to multiple strains of rabies. Lawmakers don't take the chance with vaccines that are not 100% tested.

I'm an Illinois-an (just currently residing in Utah for schooling), and I've spoken to the IL DNR about this quite a bit. They're really against legalizing striped skunks. You can have spotted skunks though, but they're not the same.

It's really the rabies vaccination thing.

If there's something you want to try, I'll be right with you on this. They seem impossible to get through to though. I even asked how many signatures I would need in order to get them to reconsider the law, but they said it doesn't matter what petitions are signed. Skunks will not be made legal.

I've been very careful not to compare skunks to foxes--especially where rabies vaccines are concerned. Neither species has a vaccine that is proven to be 100% effective. So you could make the argument: why allow foxes but not skunks? I'm worried that would have the opposite effect though, so I REALLY try to avoid it. It may wind up getting foxes banned too.

Once again, if you're up for trying something just let me know. I'd love to help out.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas
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haira32
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Re: Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby haira32 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:35 pm

Yeah, the lack of rabies vaccine is the same reason wolfdogs are banned. its like hitting my head against a brick wall. :wall:
I would hate to get foxes banned too but my argument there is the native species part, not the rabies part. It has been very frustrating to me and many others as we try and change this law. The basis for it is so miniscule, why can't the politicians just hear us out?
Ok, I'll stop this preaching to the choir. This is something I have been researching for years now and here I am ready to try and take on this law, as many others have tried and nothing seems to get through to goverment officials.
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Re: Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby Ash » Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:38 pm

Yeah, the wolfdog thing is really confusing to me...

If you're going to try something, I'll certainly stand with you. I know Ken from Ken's Exotics in Paxton, IL will too (he wants to legalize skunks there as well).

I'm hoping to be back in my homestate in a year or two. I have to admit I'm not concentrating on IL as much since I'm currently in Utah. Once I get back, I'm going to have to get on the DNR's case again.
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Re: Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:13 pm

Sounds similar to And Utah though really. If they allow one color of fox but not wild color you might be able to get a change to allow domestic colors for skunks. But as Ash can tell you that's not an easy process either(in her case trying to get red allowed along with the "domestic colors"). She could give you some idea on how to try.

You'll need to try and put a good case together and present it well.
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haira32
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Re: Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby haira32 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:56 pm

I am willing to work with anyone and every one on this issue. I know that we can put together a very convincing argument and I do happen to love public speaking. If I could find a way to set some kind of meeting up such as Ash described for her fox in Utah, we may have an upper hand. So far it looks like trying from afar with letters and news articles is not going to cut it. I think it would be even more helpful if we could find even just governtment official that agrees to the ownership of pet skunks it would be so helpful. Maybe even positive statements from legislators in states the surrounding states where they are legal. The woman who runs SkunkHaven is very addiment about legalizing in Illinois because she had to move out of the state when she found out her beloved pet was not welcomed. Her knowledge of skunk care will also be a valuable sorce although her methods to change the laws have been more about petitions and letters which unfortunately have not been very effective.
There are also several states where skunks are legal as long they are not black and white striped, so I think there is a valuable argument there.
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Re: Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby Ash » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:26 pm

I'll have to look and see what you have to do to be on the agenda at an IL DNR meeting. I'll let you know what I find and maybe we can work together on this. :icon-wink:

The color idea would definitely be a good first step.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas
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Re: Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby haira32 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:37 pm

Thank you so much. I got a reply from Dominique at Skunkhaven, she said that the biggest problem she faced was convincing politicians that changing the law would benefit them. Unfortunately that seems to be their biggest concern. I am going to contact the surounding states tomarrow about the permits they require to own skunks and if it has had a benefit on the state. That is the best argument I can think of for the political gain.
Do you have any other ideas on how the change in legisation may benefit the state government?
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Re: Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby Ash » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:39 pm

They could require an annual permit of $25-$30 like they do for all other furbearers. The money would benefit the DNR.
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Re: Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby Ash » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:04 pm

I checked the IL DNR website, and they don't have a step-by-step process listed to get onto the board's agenda. I sent them an email and hopefully they'll get back to me in the next couple of days. I'll let you know what they say.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas
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haira32
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Re: Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby haira32 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:45 pm

Very cool. :cool:
You have been very helpful, but with you out of Illinois for however long I hope this project does not get in the way of your efforts in Utah with the fox laws.
I will continue searching for a way or testimony that pet skunks can benefit the state.
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Re: Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby haira32 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:54 pm

Also, I find it strange you were flat out told the law would not change. The law for wolfdogs states it will change if a rabies vaccine is ever approved for wolfdog hybrids. With very little, if any research being done this seems unlikely, but still it says in the law itself that it may change.
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Re: Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby Ash » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:09 pm

I'm sure that if there was a proven vaccine for skunks the law would be changed for that too. It's really the only reason they don't allow skunks to be kept. Sometimes laws are just worded funny, some more specifically than others.

As for the fox thing in Utah, it's sounding now like that will be resolved this coming January. I'll be able to legally have my fox even if it doesn't go through though since I got a certificate of registration. I'll have plenty of time to look into the Illinois issues since it's almost "over with."

If you do plan to make a presentation to the DNR, make sure you have everything super well-prepared. Heck, if I'm out in Illinois at the time you may want to challenge them on it, I wouldn't mind accompanying you, lol. :icon-wink:
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas
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haira32
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Re: Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby haira32 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:05 am

Sounds good, I like to cover all my bases before I start something. Heck, I've been researching this issue for two years now and I just now feel ready to fight. I don't see how there is not a vaccine approved yet though. With almost all surounding states allowing skunks and Canada too, there has been research on it... When will it be enough?
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Re: Skunk legality in Illinois

Postby Ash » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:35 pm

In order to prove a vaccine it will cost millions of dollars. True it seems that normal rabies vaccines work, but the government won't take the chance until it's proved to be 100%. That's why even if you have a vaccinated skunk it will still be euthenized if it bites.

They would need to test it specifically on skunks and determine how susceptible they are to rabies, how long incubation is in them, and what the quarantine period would have to be. They would have to infect skunks with rabies and then see if post-exposure vaccines worked too. Even more things than this would have to be tested, and they would have to rerun tests again and again. It would take a lot of time and money, and unfortunately there aren't enough people willing to put money toward that. icon-sad
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas

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