State to end exotic pet permits in 2011

SALEM — Exotic pet permits are about to go extinct in Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture says beginning in January the state will not issue any new permits while it phases out the old ones.

The agency is acting at the direction of the 2009 Legislature, which ordered the change to protect the public against health and safety risks posed to the community by exotic animals.

The list of exotic pets includes some bears, crocodiles and nonhuman primates, such as capuchin monkeys and chimpanzees.

Current owners will be able to keep their pets until the animal dies or is sold.

"Once the animal dies or the owners are obliged to sell it, that's the end of the permit," said Dr. Don Hansen, the state veterinarian.

The state has 49 permits issued for 88 exotic animals. Nearly half of those permits, 24, are for exotic felines, which include servals, caracals, an ocelot, lynx, margay, and a Geoffray cat.

The next largest category of exotic animal permits is for nonhuman primates, 15 permits, which include capuchins, lemurs, Rhesus macaques, tamarins, a squirrel monkey, chimpanzee, vervet, cotton top and African green.

Oregon's exotic animal law requires a permit for the following:

c Felines not indigenous to Oregon, except for domestic cats.

c Nonwolf canines not indigenous to Oregon, except for domestic dogs.

c Nonhuman primates.

c Bears, with the exception of the black bear.

c Members of the crocodile family.

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