Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Skunks, Raccoons, Bats Could Be Added To Dangerous Animals List

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is planning to expand the list of animals regulated as “dangerous” in New York State.

Skunks, raccoons and bats would be added to the Dangerous Animals List, joining a much expanded list of more dangerous species of reptiles and mammals.  The revised list adds all other non-endangered or threatened primates, and Canid and Felid species, except domestic dogs and cats and fennec foxes to the list of animals which cannot be kept as pets. 
Comments can be submitted to DEC on the proposal through the close of business on Nov. 18, 2019.

“These regulations will help further ensure public safety, protect indigenous species, and the well-being of the dangerous animals being sought for exhibition.” Commissioner Basil Seggos said in an announcement of the proposed changes sent to the press. Seggos said the the measures would also help protect animals held at facilities for exhibition purposes.

These changes were prompted by a growing number of incidents involving dangerous animals that have posed a risk to public safety and the environment, the DEC announcement says.  These include seizures of alligators, caimans, and other animals kept in inhumane conditions in Wappingers Falls; an individual airlifted to a hospital after being bitten by one of the approximately 150 vipers illegally in his possession; an escaped, and recaptured, anaconda in Suffolk County; and the seizures of more than 20 dangerous animals including vipers, cobras, rattlesnakes, anacondas, alligators, and caimans in Madison County.

DEC already regulates the possession of dozens of dangerous animals for exhibition purposes, including American alligators, caimans, venomous snakes, native bears, wolves, large cats (lion, tiger, leopard), large reptiles, and gorillas which can be owned by zoos, game farms, and other private facilities that allow public viewing, but not as pets.

The proposed regulation change expands the list of animals that pose a threat to public safety or indigenous wildlife to include the following species: serval, caracal, Eurasian lynx, and all other non-endangered or threatened Felid species except domestic cats; arctic fox, swift fox, bat eared fox, and all other non-endangered or threatened Canid species except domestic dogs and the fennec fox; squirrel monkey, common marmoset, capuchin monkeys, and all other non-endangered or threatened non-human Primate species; Asian black bear, sun bear, spectacled bear; African forest elephant; Dwarf caiman; wolverine; badgers; bats; skunks; and raccoons.

The proposed regulation also provides DEC with additional regulatory authority to implement current licensing requirements that will prevent dangerous animals held at private facilities for exhibition purposes from posing a threat. DEC’s announcement says that under the changes, facilities that possess these animals would be allowed to keep the animals they currently possess. However, some facilities or individuals may not meet the proposed, new requirements of obtaining additional dangerous animals for exhibition purposes.

Text of Proposed Regulation (PDF, 34 KB) – underlines contained in the text denote new material. Brackets [ ] indicate material to be deleted.

Text of the proposed rule and information on how to provide comments can be accessed on DEC’s webpage.

Comments must be submitted in writing to: Joseph Therrien, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or e-mail comments to: wildliferegs@dec.ny.gov; subject line “Animals Considered Dangerous.”

Photo of rattlesnake skull courtesy Wikipedia user Mokele.

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4 Responses


    If you are wondering what a “Fennec Fox” is:
    The fennec fox, or fennec (Vulpes zerda), is a small crepuscular fox found in the Sahara of North Africa, the Sinai Peninsula, South East Israel (Arava desert)[2] and the Arabian desert. Its most distinctive feature is its unusually large ears, which also serve to dissipate heat. Its name comes from the Berber-Arabic word (fanak), which means fox.[citation needed] The fennec is the smallest species of canid. Its coat, ears, and kidney functions have adapted to high-temperature, low-water, desert environments. Also, its hearing is sensitive enough to hear prey moving underground. It mainly eats insects, small mammals, and birds.

    The fennec has a life span of up to 14 years in captivity and about 10 years in the wild. Its main predators are the African varieties of eagle owl, jackals, and other large mammals. Families of fennecs dig out dens in the sand for habitation and protection, which can be as large as 120 m2 (1,292 sq ft) and adjoin the dens of other families. Precise population figures are not known but are estimated from the frequency of sightings; these indicate that the animal is currently not threatened by extinction. Knowledge of social interactions is limited to information gathered from captive animals. The species is usually assigned to the genus Vulpes; however, this is debated due to differences between the fennec fox and other fox species. The fennec’s fur is prized by the indigenous peoples of North Africa, and in some parts of the world, the animal is considered an exotic pet.

    • Suzanne says:


      Interesting information–thanks! Since Fennec Foxes and African Forest Elephants are not indigenous to North America and therefore not rampaging around these parts,
      they are unlikely to be a problem. However, the imported wild boars, escaped from Canadian hunting preserves and mating with local pigs is a serious issue that should be addressed before it gets out of control. Perhaps the DEC might consider putting that most dangerous animal of all — Homo Sapiens — on the list.

      • Carrie Leo says:

        BINGO! Do you know if you were to add up every incident caused by an exotic animal in New York State (you can do this federally as well), and use the total number of attacks, injuries and fatalities against even just one species of a traditional pet, like the domestic dog, the exotic animals are still much safer to have, even as pets (not that I necessarily agree with the pet thing). This agency is misrepresenting so much when it comes to this topic. I just say to people to look up statistics for yourselves and see. These animals are so safe it’s not funny, even the venomous ones. Not that I necessarily think venomous animals don’t need additioanal restrictions on them but cum’on the dept. puts marmosets the size of a human index finger and the two smallest cat species in the world, which don’t weight anymore than ten pounds together soak and wet, on the list as “dangerous”. It really is quite ludicrous.

  2. Carrie Leo says:

    Oh Dear, Commissioner Seggos! Guess who? 😉 There are no increasing number of injuries of fatalities. Most of the animals on the list have no documented history of any attacks or injury to humans. Those stats have stayed relatively stable year after year for decades. This is being done to end the private ownership and possession of exotic animals which the DEC should have no jurisdiction over whatsoever. These are animals which are privately owned and this law will definitely not make things better for the animals at these alleged “aweful” private facilities! Your officers and Special Licenses Unit staff enforce the existing laws in an extremely arbitrary fashion. I can’t overwinter coyotes, but the other facility can. I get blamed for animals that aren’t mine running around at large yet the same facility overwintering coyotes and not getting in trouble has two bears loose running around the Adirondacks for three weeks straight. And this is after they signed a consent order which stated any further violations of the law would result in license revocation. Shortly following that empty threat, the same facility had in their possession a slew of endangered and non-endangered animals which they requested to be approved for possession at their facility. JOE THERRIEN WENT AHEAD AND AUTHORIZED THE POSSESSION FOR MANY OF THE ANIMALS AND INSTEAD OF REVOKING LICENSURE LIKE HE SAID HE WOULD IN THE CONSENT ORDER, HE JUST TOLD THE FACILITY TO SEND A FEW OF THE ANIMALS BACK WHILE THE REST THEY WERE ALLOWED TO KEEP.

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful Mr. Seggos, but it is very difficult to respect anything you say about this topic when there is so much hypocrisy and endangerment of the public already happening with the laws that are already in place. Your dept. will continue to abuse laws, including the new proposed amendment to 6 NYCRR 180.1, until some authority has the balls to put you guys in your place and make you accountable. Right now you have a blank check to do anything you want and that is exactly what you (meaning the department in general) are doing and you don’t care who or what you hurt in the process! Please be honest and fair for once with this topic.