As an organization dedicated to protecting our native wildlife, we take seriously any attempts to blur the line between native wildlife and household pets. House Bill 157 (the “Pet Fox bill”) is moving through the Montana House and will have a final vote as soon as tomorrow. This bill would make it legal to own a pet fox if it was born and raised in captivity, but simply breeding a fox indoors does not make a fox truly domestic.
Domestication of wildlife takes decades of careful breeding for preferred traits. Foxes are currently not allowed as pets because they are a known rabies vector that can carry the disease without showing symptoms and there is currently no approved vaccine for foxes. Wildlife experts agree that foxes tend to make bad pets – they can act aggressively toward humans, and scent mark everywhere. Pet foxes are also pose a risk to native wildlife because they can cross-breed with our native species, establish feral populations, introduce new pathogens into wild populations, and are predators of small birds and mammals. Pet foxes may be cute and trending on social media right now, but that doesn’t mean we should change Montana law if it means putting our native wildlife at risk.
This bill just passed it’s second reading by a 66 – 34 vote. We have have to change 14 votes by tomorrow to keep this bill from passing it’s final vote, so please consider contacting your Representative here.
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