Does that armadillo have a license?

City Health Department seeks permit system for exotic animals


September 27, 2005|By John Fritze | John Fritze,Sun reporter

Keeping a tiger in the living room may soon be harder than it once was. And chickens clucking in the front yard? Not without a permit. Under a proposal introduced yesterday in the Baltimore City Council, owners of farm and exotic animals would have to get a permit from the city's Health Department to keep their pets.

The Health Department received 110 complaints in the past year from neighbors upset over unusual pets, said Baltimore's acting commissioner of health, Francine J. Childs. Now the agency wants the authority to enforce the city code that requires owners to properly care for those animals.

Childs did not know how much the proposed permits would cost.

City code is silent on exotic animals except Vietnamese potbellied pigs. Their owners already must have a permit. If the ordinance is approved, it would add pigeons, bees, "bovine, equine, porcine [pigs], caprine [goats] or domestic fowl" to the club of animals covered.

The "exotic" category is less well defined. According to the proposal, an exotic animal is any native or foreign wildlife whose possession or sale is prohibited by law - or any animal the health commissioner deems exotic.

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