Printer Friendly Bookmark and 


Deadline Looms for Delaware “Exotic” Animal Regulations

August 1, 2009, is the deadline for public comment on proposed regulations in the state of Delaware that could potentially affect the possession and sale of such “exotic” pets as rabbits, rats and hermit crabs.

By The SmallAnimalChannel News Division
Posted: July 30, 2009, 3 p.m. EDT

Himalayan rabbit with toy
© Isabelle Francais/BowTie Inc.
Rabbits are not on the list of exempt animals, so they could potentially be governed by the new regulations in Delaware if the regulations pass.

The Delaware Department of Agriculture is accepting public comments through August 1, 2009, on its proposed regulations governing possession and selling of exotic animals in the state.

The regulations cover “wild” mammals and reptiles “not native to or generally found in Delaware” and not included on an exempt list maintained by the state veterinarian.

Currently exempt animals include hamsters, iguanas, gerbils, mice, guinea pigs, bearded dragons, hedgehogs, Asian water dragons, basilisks, ferrets, tegu, chinchillas, geckos, chameleons and sugar gliders.

However, potentially regulated but common pet animals not on the exempt list include anoles, rats, rabbits, hermit crabs, boas, ball pythons, corn snakes, garter snakes, milk snakes, ribbon snakes, box turtles, various tortoises (Russian, Leopard, red-footed) and Savannah monitors, according to the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, which issued a pet industry alert about the proposed regulations.

The proposed regulations establish a permit system for owning or selling regulated animals as well as enclosure and welfare requirements that permit holders must meet.

Individual pet owners would need a permit for each animal kept as a pet and could be subject to background checks by the agriculture department as well as premises inspections to “confirm the health and humane treatment of the exotic.” They must also obtain permits prior to buying a regulated animal. A previous version of the regulation allowed pet owners to apply for a permit within 10 days of an animal’s purchase.

Pet owners would not be able to breed regulated animals.

Sales permit holders, including pet stores, would be able to breed some regulated animals.

To obtain an annual, non-transferrable sales permit, however, a pet store must hold a current Delaware business license, be subject to a possible background check and meet several requirements.

These requirements include ensuring potential buyers possess the appropriate exotic animal permit from the state, confirming the buyer’s personal identification matches information on their exotic animal permit, providing the buyer with written information about the animal’s enclosure and welfare requirements, notifying the buyer that local laws might further govern ownership of an exotic, and guaranteeing all exotic animals put up for sale are in good health.

In addition, sellers must notify the agriculture department monthly with names and contact information of purchasers, as well as a description of each animal sold. For sales to parties outside of Delaware, the seller must maintain a record of the sale and notify the appropriate state veterinarian or government agency in the buyer’s state of the sale.

Failure to obtain or renew a permit would allow the state veterinarian to order the seizure and disposal of any regulated exotics without a hearing.
All permit holders would be required to notify the agriculture department monthly of any births or deaths of their animals.

Comments can be submitted to: Acting State Veterinarian, Caroline Hughes, VMD, Delaware Department of Agriculture, 2320 S. DuPont Highway, Dover, DE 19901. To read the proposed regulations, click here>>

See all news items>>
<<Back to homepage


 Give us your opinion on
Deadline Looms for Delaware “Exotic” Animal Regulations

Submit a Comment   Join Club
Earn 1,000 points! What's this?
Reader Comments
This is ridiculous in my opinon. way too strict
Hanna, Cedar Park, TX
Posted: 8/2/2009 2:11:06 PM
uh oh
sal, la, CA
Posted: 8/2/2009 6:53:43 AM
sounds too strict.
bobbi, sunbury, PA
Posted: 8/1/2009 6:05:10 AM
i don't like these regulations
ben, pheonix, AZ
Posted: 7/31/2009 8:52:02 PM
View Current Comments

Rabbits USA
Rabbits USA
Top Products

Hi my name's Silky

Visit the Photo Gallery to
cast your vote!