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Push for Exotic Pet Ban Fizzles

Yorkville City Council members decide against doing research on a possible ban of pet foxes and pet racoons after complaints associated with the Pets One store.

City leaders decided against exploring a ban on pet raccoons and pet foxes after several people spoke for and against it at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

Ward 4 Alderman Rose Spear suggested City Council members discuss expanding the city's list of dangerous and exotic animals after Spears said she received complaints about . According to its Facebook page, the store recently had baby foxes, sugar gliders, bearded dragons, hedgehogs, iguana, and a blood python.

City workers issued nuisance tickets and fines to the store and its landlord based on the smell from the store and gave the store a verbal warning for an animal running at large, City Administrator Bart Olson said in a memo to City Council members.

Pets One owners Kord and Carolyn Krall said they educated potential pet owners about the special needs of each breed and sold animals that had been bred in captivity for several generations.

“These are not dangerous animals,” Kord Krall said. “Of course anything that you are mean to or corner is going to be mean. That is just the way things are.”

Their business also attracts people from far outside Yorkville’s borders, he said.

“We have people coming from all over the country for the things we sell,” Kord Krall said. “It’s because we are doing things right.”

Those speaking against having foxes and raccoons as pets included Kendall County Animal Control Warden Anna Payton and Ashley Folat, director of the Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn.

The Story of One Red Fox

The Fox Valley Wildlife Center is rehabilitating a baby red fox that was purchased at Pets One, Folat said. The original owner gave it to a friend, who turned it over the wildlife center when it was just a few months old. The Kralls offered to return the baby red fox to the breeder, but wildlife center personnel decided to continue to “wild it up” in hopes it can be released in the wild this fall.

Folat said she was concerned the baby fox would not be a good candidate for breeding after being handled by various humans and partially rehabilitated for the wild, so she decided to continue the rehabilitation process. The wildlife center typically handles wild baby foxes whose mother has abandoned them. They are isolated, taught to hunt and find shelter, and released either in the fall or spring after they show signs of being able to survive alone.

The pet baby fox seemed to be progressing toward this, and is a breed that is indigenous to this area, Folat said. The wildlife center has had it for about three weeks.

“It acts just like a red fox,” Folat said. “I have not seen a wagging tail. Its ears go back.”

A Question of Public Policy

Meanwhile, Payton questioned what would happen when other pet foxes and pet raccoons were dumped outside by irresponsible owners. They would be somewhat tame, having been handled by humans, but could be dangerous, especially after they reach sexual maturity. is not equipped to handle these animals, Payton said.

“They are all very cute,” Payton said. “They are all very loving as babies. But when they hit maturity, their behavior changes.”

She urged City Council members to take action before someone was injured.

“It is so much better to be proactive than reactive,” Payton said.

After listening to comments from the public, Spears, Ward 2 Alderman Larry Kot, and Ward 1 Alderman Carlo Colosimo advocated for researching which animals might be dangerous or banned in other communities. Other aldermen nixed the idea, so it was dropped.

Spears suggested Pets One should limit itself to animals other pet stores sell.

“I’m not trying to get rid of the business; I’m not trying to give them a hard time,” Spear said, before suggesting the pet foxes and pet raccoons could present a public safety concern.

Ward 1 Alderman George Gilson Jr. said his children, who range in age from 3 to 8, have been to Pets One several times. Gilson was impressed that Pets One personnel suggested his son get a gecko rather than a chameleon because a chameleon might be too complicated for a child of his age.

But Kot was concerned about what happened after the exotic pets, such as foxes, left the store.

“The problem I have is that the victim becomes the child who lives next door to the person who is not responsible,” Kot said.

But, Gilson replied, irresponsible dog owners can present safety concerns for neighbors, too.

“We don’t outlaw everyone from having a dog,” Gilson said.

 

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Melissa S July 15, 2012 at 05:01 AM
I'm not an encyclopedia of sanctuaries :) But I know of a few places such as Beaumont Exotics and Critter Camp, if you can transport the animal out of state. It would be best though to re-home with an approved exotics owner to put less stress on these places.
Melissa S July 15, 2012 at 05:03 AM
http://crittercamp.weebly.com/
L July 15, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Melissa, Here is the info I found as to why: "Because these wild animals have unknown periods of viral shedding in the saliva before and after the onset of symptoms, observation periods are useless." "There are no rabies vaccines approved for use in wildlife. Therefore, it is against the law to vaccinate any wild animal or wild/domestic animal mix (Illinois Animal Control Act Section 30.90 part f)"
L July 15, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Melissa, With regards to Sanctuaries/rescue, there are also laws regarding transporting these animals out of state. A/C already has to deal with irresponsible owners freeing turtles, parrots, etc. Local AC can not house, but can handle such animals, and has assistance to be able to try to assist with placement, or help with the outcome of some of those types of animals. I am relieved that you feel selling these types of animals at Pet Stores is wrong. My personal feeling is selling puppies and kittens is wrong as well, but at least AC is equipped to handle those types of animals. I feel like I'm beating a dead horse with this argument and trying to bring my point across (No pun intended, I own and love horses..lol). Bottom line. For the safety of the animals and people, I do not think Pet Stores should be able to sell wildlife to the general public. And, IF certain exotics, wildlife, like raccoons or foxes are housed in the county, I think each animal should have to be registered with the county. I think it should be the burden of the owner to prove that they have a back up plan in place if the animals should need to be captured, removed, quarantined, destroyed, etc... That burden should not fall on A/C, Wildlife Rehab Centers(who run on donations btw),Law enforcement or the general public. Unless the county is willing to regulate and monitor wildlife kept as pets, I think they should be banned. This is my opinion.
L July 15, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Sorry for the typos and bad grammar. Typing from my phone. Just trying to get a point across, and not trying to deny the rights of ownership, but more to promote responsible ownership because I don't want to see these poor animals suffer the consequences when something bad does happen, like the fox kit. It is my understanding that this Pet Store has only been selling them recently (I believe since April?), and already there has been a problem, that we know about at least. I think something needs to be done for the safety of the public and the animals.
Marooned July 15, 2012 at 03:47 PM
First, comparing different animals to support an argument about pet ownership is not appropriate. Dogs and cats are significantly differently, both in their history with humans and biologically, and more so dogs and racoons, or cats and fox, etc. In addition, most up to date and well-educated dog and cat owners have a very different understanding of what is good and bad for pets than what was commonly accepted for the last hundred years. However, most dog and cat owners are lagging behind, resulting in an epidemic of abused and neglected animals, unethical breeding and marketing, and overcrowded shelters. Therefore, suggesting that we can do "as well with exotics as with dogs and cats", is a despicable endorsement. Second, there are many very good and well established (historical and biological) reasons why certain animals are not typically kept as pets. Primarily, these critters have no symbiotic or social relationship with people. In fact, humans compete, or are in conflict, with many "exotics". The statement that these animals are better as pets because they have been bred for generations in captivity is just plain ridiculous ignorance, and not worthy of rebuttal. Third, this discussion started about the quality of the management of the pet store, and the problems of the physical premises. In short, the neighbors have complained, the city has issued tickets, and animal control professionals have denounced the concept.
L July 15, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Thank you "Marooned"..excellent.
Becky July 15, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Melissa I wouldn't personally attack someone on their qualifications of owning a wild animal if you do not know them. I am a Naturalist, and as such, I believe wild animals such as raccoons, foxes, owls, crows, squirrels, wild bunnies, etc should be left out of homes. Let them live their lives the way it was intended. In the wild. If someone wants to "befriend" one, do it and allow the animal to retain it's wildness. Once again, why do humans feel the need to "own" it? If someone is hell bent on owning a wild animal, then I don't believe they should be able to buy one at a pet store, where the purchase will more than likely be on a whim, or after a weeks worth of debating. There should be stricter regulations in place. Get certified and own some kind of a wildlife caretaker license - not a fur bearers license. Research breeders. Many breeders are very strict and select on who they sell their animals too. Research veterinarians; who will be qualified to take care or your exotic? I am coming at this from the animal's side, not the human's. I believe if this pet store remains allowed to sell these types of animals, the potential for the animal to come to harm is intensified, because people will think that since it's an animal indigenous to this area (I'm talking foxes and raccoons here), it will not be a big deal if it is released in the woods at a local forest preserve.
Becky July 16, 2012 at 12:48 AM
I think I should do that! lol :-) And thank you!
Kevin Wagner July 16, 2012 at 03:32 AM
What do all of those dots mean? Does your period key stick?
Melissa S July 16, 2012 at 03:37 AM
"Once again, why do humans feel the need to "own" it?" Um, I don't technically have to answer this. Why do people get drunk? Why do people enjoy sports? Why do people enjoy visiting foreign countries in which they don't speak the language? I don't enjoy any of those things but other people do. That's really all YOU have to know. But for my point of view, I'll tell you that I find living with an exotic species thrilling and stimulating. It's one of my main interests in life. Anyway, I don't think most animals, including domestics, should be sold in stores.
Melissa S July 16, 2012 at 04:04 AM
She might as well have written "WHY CAN'T YOU BE MY CLONE?"
Melissa S July 16, 2012 at 04:41 AM
That law makes no sense whatsoever. While rabies vaccines are not approved for exotics, chances are that they do work, and can help protect the owner. They certainly don't do any HARM at all (a killed virus vaccine). The only thing is that it isn't reliable, and if the animal is suspected to have come into contact with rabies, it should be put down. The observation period is for animals suspected of rabies. There is no reason for vaccinations for exotics to be illegal. I have an exotic who got vaccinated.
Kord Krall July 16, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Great Weekend! A lot of new faces came in this weekend. Some were curious and some furious about what they read. But after coming in for themselves they were wondering what all the ‘bad press’ was about…we did get a lot if compliments and again No odor. :) And several families when home with a new pet, an education if needed and a huge smile on their face! ♥ ♥ ♥ Take the time to come if for yourself…Thank you :)
Yeah_Right July 16, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Thanks for posting your website... It's all I needed to know. You're an amateur with hobby who thinks that makes you qualified. I'll keep that in mind as I read through your posts.
Yeah_Right July 16, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Mike, the better question would be to ask the council why the unit next to them IS empty... If the council is soooo concerned about local business, why are they supporting one that causes grief to the businesses around them?
Yeah_Right July 16, 2012 at 03:00 PM
But yet, you're so afraid to let people post on your FB page. It's HIGHLY filtered. People who comment about negative experiences are quickly deleted. But judging by the unfiltered comments here, it's pretty obvious that a majority of people are opposed to what some of what you're selling.
Katy K July 17, 2012 at 01:20 PM
No Thanks...bad press is what you are always going to get. I drove by last weekend and didn't see 1 car both ways. HUH!
Melissa S July 17, 2012 at 06:47 PM
An "amateur"?? I'm a person who keeps pets and also feels I have the right to do so even if YOU don't agree with it, as it's my choice, my freedom. Who are you to belittle my opinion? I never stated anywhere that I am a "professional animal owner", but if you're going to accuse me of harming someone else with my animals, or harming them, you damn well better have some good evidence. Your perception of what I do is meaningless to me. If you can't give me some good arguments, it's you that needs to butt out of how we choose to live. And certainly don't patronize me just because you think I'm evil for having a pet you that you don't want.
Marooned July 17, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Well, sounds like it is time to lay the cards on the table. Pets One, what is your USDA license type and number? Who are your suppliers, including contact info. Who inspects your facilities and stock for salmonella, hepatitis, adenovirus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis mites, etc.? Who certifies your efforts to maintain current on all public health and welfare issues concerning your animals? Do you have any documented education pertinent to maintaining these critters, and for providing care and safety information and training to others? Have you ever been cited for violating state or interstate regulations concerning sale and transport of animals, possession of protected species, or local regulations concerning care or possession of restricted species, or numbers of animals, or other health or nuisance regulations? Thanks.
Bob Allen July 18, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Hello Newfie, "They end up in rescues or they're set free"? Where do you come up with this (stuff)? Although the majority of the council does not subscribe to this (questionable information), it is obvious that you were welcomed by one (person of questionable character). The kook cultivator brings out a few (unprintables) every year. Toy foxes are not werewolves. Or Werefoxes. Add werefoxes to frightening cornfields, handicapped excessive home requirements, Big Band badmouther, dangerous children on tricycles and health insurance freeloader. I agree with Alderman Gilson, this business is an asset to the city. I disagree with another alderperson. Why does the kook cultivator keep attacking legal businesses? I smell a rat, but it is not a Gambian rat!
Lora Bendik August 02, 2012 at 05:02 PM
There is an add on Hoobly to rehome a 4 month old fox in Aroura Il. $550.00 Apparently College will interfere with the time needed to care for this young exotic. Don't know if it was originally purchased from Pets One but it is just another case of not educating the buyer on the proper care of this animal.
Becky August 03, 2012 at 12:10 AM
I believe it was. Further down in the listings for Exotic pets in Fox Valley IL is a 3mos old listing from Pets One regarding baby foxes. The middle picture of the baby fox sleeping looks exactly like the one the college student is trying to rehome.
Becky August 03, 2012 at 12:12 AM
No, you didn't have to answer it. It was a rhetorical question.
Dominique Castillo August 03, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Well good. They will be gone before 2014 I am sure of it. Lets just sit back and wait. It will happen.
Lora Bendik August 03, 2012 at 04:11 PM
@ Dominique... It is not my intention to have the business closed down. However I do think the City should have some say so in the sale of wild animals. Let's face it, they advertise on the internet and this problem will reach beyond Yorkville. Hate that we had the chance to change this and nothing was done to be proactive! Please Pets One do the right thing.
Melissa S August 04, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Well I still feel the need to educate you anyhow.
Melissa Smith August 29, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Ugh, how did I miss this? There is not 'culture' and these animals will certainly never end up in pet stores, what are you talking about? No one has cheetahs, maybe you got confused with a serval?
Melissa Smith August 29, 2012 at 10:49 PM
They make proper pets for the proper owners. No reason to make up scenarios conveniently. I bet you cannot find one confirmation of an intentional release of an exotic.
Melissa Smith August 29, 2012 at 10:54 PM
That film is just propaganda. Why should people base their opinion on that? Try to get both sides of the story for once. Just because it's not something you want to do doesn't mean you should block it for those that want to due to your ignorance. Most of those snakes were probably escapees during a hurricane, but it's nice to assume everything is a malicious act. http://melissaasmith.hubpages.com/hub/simplelogic

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