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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, it's been a while since I've posted. It's been busy. At any rate, there's only one store nearby where I can get my goos the right food (without molasses), and I can get it in bulk at a good price. So I headed over there and picked up a few things.
As I was checking out, the girl asked if I had guinea pigs. I said no, I have degus. Right away, she said she wouldn't say that so loud as they're illegal in PA. She said they had a bunch at the store and someone called the officials (?) and they came in and euthanized the ones they had. She did say they tried to get as many as they could into homes. She said that the officials said that they're nuisances because they reproduce in high numbers and they chew on things.
I left kind of confused because I never heard a thing about them being illegal when I was researching them. Pennsylvania is pretty strict about exotic pets, but it's usually illegal to sell them, not to own them. Example: until recently, it was illegal to sell turtles. They then changed the law - now it's legal to sell them, but their carapace has to measure >4 inches.
So, I'm asking if anyone has heard of this. I'm not concerned that someone's going to break down my door because I own 2 degus (I also own 2 turtles - I'd be in BIG trouble, eh?). I'm just wondering. . .
 

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That's just crazy I never heard anything like that before. But I live in Illinois not PA so I have no idea whether the swat team will be at your door soon. o.o
 

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I can't be of assistance, as I don't know the rules.

Just wanted to remark that my boyfriend always makes fun of PA's laws about various things (especially all the liquor laws - I grew up there and he couldn't believe all the differences between there and Ohio), so the SWAT team comment made me laugh.

Good luck!
 

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I live in PA and bought my degus in New York and they told me there that they were illegel here. I am not worried. I also have a turtle so.. I dont know if you can research it or not.
 

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I have never thought of this question before! I was able to find a court document from Pennsylvania that does mention Degus. The woman in the court case had 4 serval cats, 2 fennic foxes, 3 ringtailed lemurs, 3 kinkajous and 1 wallaby. (I know, I know, "and a partridge in a pear tree".)

So the court case isn't directed at clarifying the law surrounding Degus perse, however Degus are mentioned.

Here is a link to the complete court document:

http://www.courts.state.pa.us/OpPosting/CWealth/out/1405CD04_6-16-05.pdf

The Degu mention occurs on page 11. Here's a brief excerpt:

(3) The following persons are exempt from the licensing
requirements under section 2 or 3 of the Act:
* * *
(iii) Any person who maintains a total of three (3) or
fewer breeding female dogs, cats, and/or small exotic or wild
mammals, such as hedgehogs, degus, spiny mice, prairie dogs,
flying squirrels, and jerboas, and who sells only the offspring of
these dogs, cats, or small exotic or wild mammals, which were
born and raised on his or her premises, for pets or exhibition, and
is not otherwise required to obtain a license. This exemption does
not extend to any person residing in a household that collectively
maintains a total of more than three breeding female dogs, cats,
and/or small exotic or wild mammals, regardless of ownership, nor
to any person maintaining breeding female dogs, cats, and/or small
exotic or wild mammals on premises on which more than three
I am not a court official, nor versed in the law. But from what I read there, you are not allowed to breed and sell "exotics" without a proper license. But, it sounds like if you have a few (read: 3 or less) just as pets, no biggie.

I think it would be best to really look into the laws in your area, but it kind of sounds to me like you're ok with keeping 2 as pets, as long as you're not breeding and distributing them.

I hope this has helped a little!

Now I really want to find out about laws in my area pertaining to Degus!
 

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I've heard that also, a lady mentioned it a while back to me when i was doing some research for my own website into places where degus are banned. I looked into it and found a lot of mixed info with no definate answer either way. The only place where i could find a definate no for was California. I would maybe just keep quiet about having them till you know for sure as they aren't hurting anyone, if anyone asks about food just say your guinea pigs diabetic and needs mollasses free food ;)
 

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I have read--when I was looking to see if they were legal in NY-- that they were illegal in PA. But I think that if you've had them for a while and aren't breeding and selling them, then It should be fine. Like everybody else, I am no law person, but I think you should be okay. Hope you have good luck!!
 

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Here in WA it's illegal to breed them or sell them unless you have an exotic license. It is not illegal to buy or to own them, but you're not supposed to breed or sell.

Nowhere on my side of the state sells them because of it, but there are plenty around that need rehoming.

I find it ridiculous that they "illegal" because they breed too quickly. Gerbils and Guppies breed way faster! Are they illegal too?
 

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Your laws over there are mad! We dont have any animal bans over here as far as i know!! I cant believe they stop you having certain animals as pets!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow! What a great thread. Thank you all for your responses.

Yes, PA laws are absurd. Some of them, at least. But I'm not expecting to see SWAT on my doorstep any time soon.

I was surprised at the reasoning of "nuisance" too, because breeding quickly and chewing describes rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, etc, and none of those are illegal. I think it's just a matter of degus being exotic - meaning they don't know all that much about them.

I agree with everyone's take. I'm not planning on breeding (kind of difficult with 2 males!) or selling so I don't think there's anything to worry about. The exotic pets that get people in trouble around here are the ones that get big. They found a 5 or 6 foot alligator in the basement of a place they busted for making meth. LMAO, I think Molasses and Bullet are safe.

Thank you all!
 

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I decided to check in on our state (TX) and found no problem so far. I just found that I had to check with the USDA because she's in my classroom for educational purposes.
Originally the answer was that I needed an "Educational Display" license. After speaking with the lady a second time, and having her boss help clarify things, it turns out that because we talk about the animals, their diets, and behaviors, we fall under "Research Facility", and are thus exepted from the license....
The things ya never knew ;)
She's going the send me a copy of the Act, and mark the appropriate page for my school so that he'll have proof we're in compliance :)
 

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I'm not weird, I'm gifted
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It sounds weird that you have such a big problem finding out what you may or may not keep.
I think it's kinda weird though, if people were allowed to one all sorts of animals.
People over here often talk about how crazy it is, that you are allowed to keep lions and tigers and other animals like that like "pets" some places in the US. That's just too weird.

But a degu?

Are they able to reproduce if they get out into the wild?
We have that problem with a lot of american animals, like the american mink. We breed them for fur, and some stupid, stupid people sometimes release the animals, but don't think about what's going to happen to the animals.
Well, now they live like wild animals in Denmark, and kill many of our birds and other animals.

So if your state has been experincing things like that, I kinda understand why some pets are illegal.
 

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There are a lot of pet laws in MA that I personally don't understand...Usually states make laws against keeping certain animals because they don't want people to release them into the wild in case the animal survives and damages native habatats/animal populations. However, there are several animals that are banned as pets (sugar gliders, for example) that would not be able to survive our winters here. So who knows why they ban them? Then there are other species that are perfectly legal, that can survive and do cause damage. So I don't know, maybe they have their reasons but it always seemed weird to me.

The thing that stinks is that some pets that are illegal in MA, are perfectly legal in all the states surrounding it - states that have pretty much the same climate and everything. So you can literally live 5 mins outside the MA boarder and keep a pet, but if you lived say a couple of miles north, it would be illegal. Doesn't make sense to me!
 

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I'm not weird, I'm gifted
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Well, over here it's illegal to keep big and dangerous pets, and pets "normal" people might have a problem caring for in the right way!
We may not keep very poisonous animals like cobras or other animals like that. I think this is quite fine. Because some people only get these animals to show off, and if the animal can kill you, and you don't know what you are doing, then there is a very big chance it WILL kill you. And most people who kept these animals, find that this is okay.
Some big phythons are also illegal because when they get big, you can handle them alone, and some people don't realise this.
Other than this, there is a lot of different mammals we may not keep. But honestly I don't see the problem. Yes, I'm glad can get hedgehogs, sugargliders, racoons and other pets like that, but so wat if we could not keep them?

Weird law:
Squirrel monkeys are not illegal in Denmark. But it is illegal to import new monkeys to Denmark. This means you may only buy danish breed.
I know they are all threatened, but it still seams very weird!
 

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In my state, it's illegal to keep native species as pets. No squirrels, native birds, wild bunnies, beavers LOL

Pet rabbits are fine, though... I think a lot of exotics are illegal because they can be difficult to care fore. The law is meant to protect them.
 

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That's weird, because here native species are allowed (not all of them oveously), while some common 'pet' animals that are perfectly fine in other states are illegal here.

Can you tell this annoys me? lol...I really want a pair of sugar gliders. Southern flying squirrels are legal because they are native. I don't think sugar gliders are that much harder to care for then flying squirrels, so why would they protect one species and not the other? And why can people in almost every other state handle caring for them, but people in MA can't?

Oh well, I'm done with my little rant now, lol sorry!

:hijacked:
 
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