Pocket pets are small animals kept as pets like ferrets, hedgehogs, sugar gliders, chinchillas and turtles. They get their name because most are small enough to fit in your pocket. Despite the fact that they are very common pets, there are several states where at least some of them are banned just like the more exotic animals.
UAPPEAL responds to bills banning public contact with animals. Such contact is aready regulated by the USDA for exhibitors. They have strict rules for how often, how long, and how public contact is to be done. Also, these bills are often so vague on who is considered the public that it can impact volunteers and employees working with them. Also, most apply to pet owners but fail to take into account family members living in the home and guests that visit.
UAPPEAL continues to respond to bills banning hybrids between domestic cats and dogs and exotic ones until they are properly declared domestic species. Some of the most popular cat hybrids, savannahs and bengals, are listed with the The International Cat Association. These cats are not to be confused with new domestic breeds being created from house cat breeds, including the Toyger and Lykoi (werewolf cat).
Each year, several bills banning private ownership of exotic animals are introduced. Sometimes they include several species group (i.e. dangerous wild animals bills) and other times they include one category (i.e. nonhuman primates).
The federal government has been adding various species to a law called the Lacey Act to ban their interstate commerce (injurious species). In 2003, the Captive Wildlife Safety Act passed also banning interstate commerce of certain large cats. Several bills have been introduced since to add new species to the list, such as the Captive Primate Safety Act. The latest strategy is to try to amend the CWSA to ban possession on the federal level.
While UAPPEAL monitors all exotic legislation equally, there is some priority legislation that we tend to deal with on a regular basis.