Owning a wolf hybrid or a kangaroo would be banned under an ordinance proposed in Loudoun County.
The proposal also would prohibit ownership of koalas, baboons, marmosets, armadillos, venomous snakes and other venomous reptiles, and non-native venomous spiders. People would not be allowed to breed those animals, either.
The Loudoun County supervisors will consider whether people who already own the animals should be allowed to keep them, provided the owners register with the county.
Right now, there’s nothing stopping someone in Loudoun County from owning a primate, an alligator, or a viper.
“Currently, there is no way of knowing how many exotic or venomous species of animals are living in residences in Loudoun County, as no law restricts ownership. However, it can be assumed that a diverse array of species is in the possession of residents in both multi- and single-family dwellings,” reads a staff memo to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.
Loudoun County Animal Services said in a presentation in January that owning an exotic animal or venomous creature poses risks to public safety. The risks include the following:
- That the animal or spider would escape and inflict harm;
- That zoonotic diseases could spread;
- That first-responders would be at risk when entering homes where the animals are housed;
- That local ecosystems and wildlife would be at risk.
If approved, a violation would be a misdemeanor with a fine up to $250.
Neighboring jurisdictions, including Leesburg and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William, already have similar ordinances prohibiting the ownership and breeding of exotic animals and venomous creatures.
Exemptions to the ordinance would include pets, such as ferrets and hedgehogs, licensed exhibitors and animal rehabilitators, non-venomous reptiles and amphibians that people lawfully obtain, and exotic and flightless birds that people lawfully obtain.
Loudoun County will hold a 6 p.m. public hearing on the matter February 15 in the Board Room of the Loudoun County Government Center in Leesburg. To speak at the hearing, you must sign up. Comments also will be taken by email and online.
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