Is it Legal to Own a Pet Fox?

Nothing is cuter or more clever than a fox. A fox’s lush fur and beautiful coloring entice many people to want to own one as a pet. Foxes are just about the size of a cat, or a small dog, and they are attractive and soft. The most common breeds of foxes in the United States are red foxes and grey foxes. The trouble is, what would you do if you had one as a pet? What do they eat? Are they playful and friendly toward humans? What does the fox say? Is it even legal to own a fox as a pet in Nevada?

Is it Legal to Own a Fox in Nevada?

While there are several states where it is legal to own a fox as a pet, you are not generally permitted to own a fox as a pet in Nevada. Specifically, ownership, importation, and transportation of foxes is expressly prohibited under NAC 503.110(1)(d)(9). This includes any species of fox, such as grey, red, or kit (swift) foxes. Foxes are considered to be wild animals, and the state legislature sees ownership of wild animals as a potential hazard to people since wild animals can carry diseases and can exhibit unpredictable behaviors.

There are a number of other common wild animals that are illegal to own as pets in Nevada. A few of the wild animals that you cannot own as a pet in Nevada include:

  • Skunks

  • Raccoons

  • Bats

  • Wild Pigs or hogs

  • Wild goats

  • Snapping turtles

  • Alligators and crocodiles

  • A number of snakes, such as coral snakes, cobras, mumbas and vipers

Why Can Zoos Own These Animals, But I Can’t?

Zoos have to obtain special federal licenses to own and display the animals that are listed in the Nevada prohibited animals statute. Zoos must obtain an exhibitor’s license from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. In a zoo environment, these wild animals, including the foxes that are on display, are contained in protected exhibits that are designed to mimic the animals’ natural habitats. The animals and the humans that come to the zoo to see the animals are physically separated from one another. This protects both the zoo patrons as well as the animals.

In addition to zoos, there may be other reasons why someone may have a fox in his or her possession, but any fox owner must have verifiable documented evidence of the lawful possession of the animal. These individuals usually have a reason for owning a fox that is different than owning the fox as a pet. For instance, animal trainers who train foxes for commercial purposes can obtain the appropriate permits and licenses to own a fox. Also, researchers at universities or research centers can obtain the appropriate permits in order to study foxes. It could also be that if you know someone with a fox, they are breaking the law.

Unfortunately, you are not permitted under the law to own a fox as a pet in Nevada. If you were to obtain the appropriate permits or licenses, then it may be possible to own a fox, but again, not as a pet. Please give our office a call. The team at Parry & Pfau is happy to schedule a free consultation with you.

(image courtesy of Katerina Bartosova)