Legalizing Common Wild Life Animals for Pets
I’m wondering exactly how to begin this paper as I grapple with the pure ignorance of not allowing people to keep “wild life” as pets… In Louisiana and many other states it’s LEGAL to hunt Opossums, Raccoons, Armadillos, Coyotes, Fox, even Bobcat, and many other animals called “wild life” BUT is it Illegal to keep these same animals legally as pets.
WHY? …. And again I ask WHY?
Several states classify Opossum, Raccoons, Armadillos, Beaver, and Nutria as “Nuisance” Animals and allow them to be killed or hunted at any time day or night.
If Opossum, Raccoons, and Armadillos are allowed to be hunted in many states at any time of year, day or night, as Nuisance Animals ~~ then why can’t these same animals be allowed to be kept as pets?
I have been around animals both wild and ~~ what is termed “domesticated” ~~ all my life…. I have over 40 years’ experience observing, caring for, rehabbing, and loving animals of many different species, both domestic and “wild”…
Myself, along with many other people in the United States (and I’m sure other countries probably) wonder why several animals species can be hunted anytime and killed but yet not LEGALLY kept as pets? This makes absolutely NO sense… I don’t care who states otherwise. I have been a member of many animal groups, and rehab groups, in the past and present, and I’m here to tell the world in general if we are to save our animals, from extinction, especially our “wild life” it’s going to take many dedicated private breeders to help do so. If you want to save a nearly extinct species allow private ownership of it, and watch them SURVIVE and THRIVE!!
This paper is not about the rights or wrongs of animal breeding or animal mills… (they (animal mills) are simple wrong and any breeding operation of any kind should be moral and practice respect and care for the animals it breeds). Herein, I’m writing about the rights of people in general… and some dedicated private individuals to keep “wild life” as pets, and to preserve animals near extinction in private breeding programs, or to keep “nuisance” labeled animals in private breeding programs, or as pets.
I am not a hunter myself, but I am not against hunting in general. I do however have a bone to pick with some of the current hunting laws on the books… Why on earth is it allowed by Wildlife and Fisheries for two raccoons or opossums to be killed day / night per person any time of the year??
As I mentioned above I am not a hunter, however my dad (whom I lost very early when I was 18) WAS. Although I’ve never hunted he taught me to track better than most professional trackers I have run across in my lifetime. He also taught me “RESPECT” for all animals. AS a teenager I had to help him “clean” his hunts…which I hated… It did however teach me a great deal about the anatomy of many different species.
My dad, as a hunter, also taught me, you never hunt / kill any animal you are not going to use as food (unless it’s absolutely necessary to save a human life, which is extremely RARE). You never torture an animal… You kill: quick and clean… and he could do that with one shot of a 22 long rifle, or even a 22 pistol. My Dad also taught me to shoot, and well.
The purpose of this article: is this….changing the Wildlife and Fishery laws that will NOT allow the keeping of small mammals classified as “wildlife” as pets…This again is the purpose of this written paper…. Laws need to CHANGE across the United States… period concerning this. WHY CAN’T individuals be allowed to LEGALLY keep “wildlife” as PETS?? Mind you here I am not speaking of bear, or cougars, or even alligators here, but of small common mammals such as Opossums, Raccoons, Squirrels, Nutria, Skunks, or Cotton Tail Rabbits. I’m especially referring to what Wildlife and Fisheries in many states have classified as “Nuisance Animals”… Opossums, Raccoons, Armadillos, and in many states Coyotes, Beaver, Nutria, and even Rabbits are in this classification, and allowed to be killed once again, at any time of year and any time of day or night in many instances.
I see many people in many states via the internet and other sources, keeping these small mammals as pets illegally because they have NO OTHER choice. It’s extremely difficult to obtain a permit to keep such small wildlife mammals as pets… in most states. This is ludicrous… hunter or homeowner can kill two opossums per 24 hour period, as a “nuisance” yet a devoted person that rescues a baby opossum from sure death on a road from its mother being killed by a car cannot legally keep the little darling they find, rescue, and in many cases secretly raise?? HOW IS THIS RIGHT in any way, shape or form? Where is the rhyme or REASON here? … The current laws state only because it’s “wildlife” and can’t be owned?? Why can hunters hunt, kill, and mount heads on their walls then? This is not right… it’s simply wrong, to deny a responsible caring person from owning “wildlife” as a companion pet, simply because it’s titled wildlife.
Let me bring some light to the subject of “wild life”…. Weather people want to realize it, or not, or accept it or not… ALL ANIMALS ARE BORN TAME AND MADE WILD BY MANKIND. Wild animals that have never seen humans have no fear of them… Wild animals can be just as gentle and tame as domestic animals… AND on the flip of this, I’ve seen many “domestic animals” more wild and uncertain and dangerous than most wild ones.
Somewhere and somehow through the years “wildlife” has taken on a “touch me not” approach by animals groups of all kinds… and even many rehab groups.
For ~~ Forever and a day, people everywhere, this country and others, have kept “wildlife” as pets… It’s actually more than crazy to just group all wildlife as none pet animals.
Even the Bible mentions “wild animals” as being tame and can all be tamed…
James 3:7 “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind.” (KJV)
There is no animal, or lives no animal, be they “wild” or “domestic”, that cannot be won over with kindness, and gratitude, respect and love. (by Rett)
(Do not send me emails about my bible quotes …they are there go find them for yourself…)
WE as individuals, and the public in general, need to band together in support groups, and change a few of Wildlife and Fisheries laws pertaining to keeping several small mammals as “PETS”.
In this group of “Common Wild Life Animals” allowed to be keep as pets, these species should be included:
~~ Cotton Tails / Rabbits
Also added to this list should be:
~~ Bob Cats
Perhaps the person wanting to keep Coyotes or Bob Cats should be required simply have to be approved by Veterinarian or Wildlife Rehabilitator inspecting the enclosure for adequate size / habitat, and perhaps take a short simple written examine proving they are knowledgeable of the diet, exercise / requirements of and handling of these animals.
NO, I am not stating here that just anyone and everyone should be allowed to run out and get an animal listed here out of the woods, or out of the wild. I AM HOWEVER stating here that people that find truly home-less, hurt, or abandoned “wild life” should be allowed to keep it as PETS IF they are committed to the animal’s welfare and care. There is NO GOOD REASON WHY Common Wild Life, especially common wildlife labeled as “Nuisance” wild life cannot be kept and cared for as beloved pets by individuals.
Here’s an example. Virginia Opossums are sold in several states as “Pets” legally but in yet in Louisiana and several other states is it ILLEGAL to own one as a pet unless you are a wildlife rehabilitator, and then you can only keep it, if the animals are deemed “un-releasable” because it’s become too “TAME” and too dependent on people or either it’s injuries will not allow it be released back into the “wild”.
Opossums are North America’s ONLY MURSUPIAL (no they are not rodents). They actually make very good pets if raised from a small baby, and bond very strongly and closely with their human “mothers / fathers”. They get along well with other house pets if associated with them from early on, and are non- aggressive animals. Their body temperatures are around 95.5 degrees… much too low to harbor the rabies virus, of which many people believe they carry. Opossums, in the “wild” rarely live more than a year or two ~~ sadly because of dog kills, or road kills by automobiles, or because of hunting, or killings because they are termed “nuisance wild life”.
It’s thought they only live 4—5 years in captivity. I personally believe this is wrong, and like a rabbit, they can happily live closer to 10 years with good care.
We have this wonderful, gentle, clean and intelligent little creature, the Opossum, that keeps our environment clean for us, and harms nothing yet it’s termed a “nuisance” in several states and thus allowed to be killed many times for no reason, yet WE AS the public, and CARING PET OWNERS, CANNOT LEGALLY KEPT ONE AS A PET…?? This MUST be changed.
Instead of promoting protection of our ONLY North American Marsupial, Wildlife and Fisheries are promoting “nuisance killings”. Why can’t PET OWNERSHIP PERMITS be allowed for these gentle creatures, if found in distress as infants and raised “TAME” ?? What would the harm be? There is no harm, and it’s high time we as Pet Owners say so!!
We as people continually encroach on these “common Wild Life Animals” environment and territory, and then wonder why they come to our doorstep for food?? Would it really hurt to feed them? According to wild life “experts” we shouldn’t feed coons, possums, or the like…. YET many people do every day in their backyard and it hurts nothing, and harms no one… especially not the animals. It only gives them a meal….and a safe one which they do not have to cross a busy highway to get, or risk being killed by a dog to get. It’s legal to kill them… but it’s not legal to own one as a pet? How messed up is that?
Raccoons can be killed anytime day or night, yet a person finding a baby raccoon or baby squirrel cannot keep one as a pet, after all the work, (and YES it’s work) to faithfully care for and raise one.
We need to band together as supporters (be we animal righters, hunters, wild life rehabbers, or Pet Owners) and change some of these “laws” concerning common wildlife as pets.
Animal rights groups and wildlife groups need to wake and smell the coffee… There are GOOD responsible people out there that actually know what they are doing and can more than adequately provide for these common wildlife species as pets. Many that would not survive a year in the wild would survive happily 5 to 10 years in a pet home.
The arguments always seem to be “but they are kept in captivity”… Captivity does NOT automatically mean kept in cages. The definition of captivity means under human’s CARE. Most of these common wildlife species being secretly kept as private pets are not being housed in cages….but have the run of the house or yard, or a large habitat area.
Am I stating here that “anyone” in general should be allowed to keep common wildlife as a pet? NO… I’m not saying that…. I’m stating make it simple and easy if a person finds and rescues a baby animal, (such as on my list here) to keep and raise if they can pass a small written simple exam on the basic needs and care of that species, and are willing to pay a small one-time fee for ownership of their “PET”, such as a $30 fee for taking the written exam and permanent permit to keep their pet. (Perhaps a photo the animals rescued as a baby and two character references for the person could be asked for as well to prove the animal was “found” as a baby in dire circumstances.) Lets change a few laws with Wildlife and Fisheries laws, and make it easier for good people to rescue truly in need common baby wildlife mammals, and keep them as well loved and cared for pets.
This way the states that forbid “Legal” pets of common wild life will still “make money” by permitting pets of this sort, and money will be made by these states not just on hunting license only but on “Common Wildlife Pet Permits” as well. (We all know hunting is a multi-billion dollar business and let’s face it, most states will not risk the loss of income brought in by hunting.)
I also personally do not think hunters would have a problem with this… allowing Pet Owners to keep Common Wild Life Pets. Why would they mind? It’s of no threat whatsoever to them, or their activities.
Dedicated people wanting a save and keep a Common Wild Life Pet will then be able to do so legally and not be “closet common wildlife pet owners” ….and YES there are many of them out there.
Just as in life, not everyone should own a pet… of any sort… (Just like not all people should be allowed to hunt.) NOT ALL People should have children for that matter… Not all people should have dogs and cats. This is not about weeding out who should and shouldn’t own a pet… that’s an entirely different article or discussion, this is about the right to own a pet… a pet as I have coined the term herein, a “Common Wild Life Pet”.
If hunters can buy a license / permit and kill “nuisance” wildlife anytime, anywhere basically, then why can’t Pet Owners also buy a License / Permit to own a Common Wild Life Pet?? Hunters are killing, what “Closet Common Wild Life Pet Owners” are longing to share as companion pets… these small mammals that are a nuisance to one, but a love to another.
We (as in pet owners, non-hunters, and even animals rights groups) realize that hunting is a multi-billion dollar industry and sport. I am not knocking hunters herein.
In actuality, many game parks and hunting clubs have saved many endangered antelope, goat, and deer species, among other animals, that are now extinct, or nearly so, in the “wild”. Yes, these are hunting ranches, such as in Texas, Wyoming, etc… and they allow hunting of these species, BUT they also SAVED many of them, and will willing sell breeding pairs to zoos, private individuals, and sanctuaries. Thus they (though they be “hunting ranches”) are not prejudice against pet ownership or conservationist or sanctuaries wishing to obtain breeding animals for farther conservation / saving/ propagation of a species, or pet animals.
Why should US Wildlife and Fisheries NOT allow Pet Ownership of Common Wild Life Animals / Small Mammals? Why is it “right” and legal to be able to go out and purchase a hunting license in most any state, for $20 to $30 dollars, and yet it’s NOT legal to purchase a “Common Wild Life Pet Ownership License” ?? Why does this license NOT exist? It is not hunters keeping Us, would be Common Wild Life Pet Owners (or closet Common Wild Life Pet Owners) from legally owning a pet/ our pet…it is not hunters, it is Wildlife and Fisheries laws. Federal and state laws NEED to BE CHANGED, PEROID.
Search Youtube…. Search the internet… You will see MANY Closet “Common Wild Life Pet Owners”… Why can’t this be legalized?? What does Wildlife and Fisheries have to fear? What do Wildlife groups have to fear? Absolutely nothing at all… There are no justifiable reasons why the public / the people, cannot have a Common Wild Life Animal as a Pet, especially when these small mammal species are being killed daily… Excuses are many. Valid Reasons are non—existent for not allowing Pet Ownership of the animals listed herein. By God, let’s CHANGE this!!
Written July 12, 2016 (12 midnight ~ 3AM)
By: Rett (Ms. Loretta Ann Bowman)
Our Vision is to see people legally able to keep small common wildlife as beloved pets... while also saving many of these wonderful little animals from early, premature deaths if returned to (or left in) the wild... We MUST remember that "Captivity" means being cared for and watched over by people it does NOT mean being kept in cages. "All Animals are Born Tame and made Wild by Mankind"... a truer statement has never been made. Animals that have never seen people have no fear of Us... they are not "born wild"... Any one that has ever been in a remote area / stretch of woods, etc will tell you animals that have never seen humans are not fearful... they are curious, and often approach people to find out "what we are"... In many situations small common wildlife animals would be much better off in captivity in loving pet homes, being care for and adored rather than ran over on roads, or shot for being "Nuisance Animals" !!