Thursday, December 1, 2022

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Access to medication is key to HIV prevention, a Florida university uses a religious exemption to disband its faculty union, plus Nevada tribes and conservation leaders praise a new national monument plan.

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The House passed a bill to avert a crippling railroad strike, Hakeem Jefferies is chosen to lead House Democrats, and President Biden promises more federal-Native American engagement at the Tribal Nations Summit.

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The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Pocket Pet Trend Concerns Animal Rights Groups

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012   

RALEIGH, N. C. – "Pocket pets" sound like the latest toy craze for children, but these animals are real – and so are the concerns about keeping them as household pets. The term is used to describe such pets as ferrets, sugar gliders, chinchillas and other hand-held, furry animals.

Most are not native to the United States, although increasingly, these animals are being imported for sale as pets. Debbie Leahy, captive regulatory specialist for the Humane Society of the United States, explains why her organization and others are concerned.

"These are animals who have very specialized needs. The average person doesn't have the resources to provide proper care for these animals. These animals are best left in their natural habitat."

Leahy says many imported animals carry diseases and illnesses, perhaps some even not yet discovered. Last year, for instance, the owner of a kinkajou was hospitalized multiple times for a fungus he got after his animal bit his finger.

There is currently very little regulation of pocket pets, according to Leahy, and if an owner regrets the decision, that also means there are few options for what to do with the animal, since many animal rescue groups are not equipped to handle them.

"People get these animals on an impulse. After they've had them for about two months, the animal starts to become more aggressive, more unpredictable, more dangerous. Sometimes they may have to be turned loose."

Some of the tiny pets have specific dietary and climate needs that are difficult to meet in a captive environment. In addition, says Leahy, when these animals are taken from the wild, they're often taken as babies and their mothers are killed in the process.



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