Are some pets actually banned around the world? Unfortunately, it turns out the answer is yes. Though many exotic animals aren't banned, such as big cats, there are plenty of surprisingly banned pets that most of us probably consider domesticated; pit bulls, for example, are routinely banned with very little evidence to back up the reason for it.
Hawaii has possibly the most stringent animal laws in the world, requiring quarantines for some animals and outright banning many others, such as hamsters, gerbils, and hermit crabs. The list of pets you can't legally own knows no bounds in Hawaii. However, until 2009, Canada had lax animal laws, allowing citizens to have pretty much anything (even hippos were technically legal).
As animal attacks make news headlines, public outcry follows. Sadly, there have been all too many examples of animals that have turned on their owners - often animals that should have never been owned as a pet in the first place. If you're in the market for a pet, check your state and local laws - cities and other municipalities often restrict animals that a state does not.
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Pit bulls and their counterparts, like American bull terriers, are banned in many countries throughout the world. Many of these laws were spurred by attacks, leading to public outcry against pit bulls - or dogs that look like pit bulls. However, in some places, those laws may be changing; for example, Montreal passed breed-specific legislation in September 2016 but then overturned the law by December 2017.
Pit bulls were not a public concern until the late '80s. Prior, they had been considered good pets, family dogs, and guard dogs. However, dog fighting came back in the '80s, and with dog fighting came dogs that were bred and taught to be aggressive. Very quickly, many states and communities began passing breed-specific legislation.
Today, Montreal is not the only community that has reconsidered its pit bull ban. However, there is still a lot of breed-specific legislation out there to research before you get a pit bull.5,2861,169Do you still want one anyway?
Wolf DogsPhoto: Shutterstock
Laws vary throughout the United States on wolf dog ownership; however, they are completely outlawed in Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Wyoming. Some states do treat wolf dog mixes as domestic pets just like any other dog, though; if you're curious just exactly what a wolf dog is, they're domesticated canines that have been crossbred with wolves and maintain a large percentage of wolf DNA.3,4511,760Do you still want one anyway?
Hedgehogs, as tiny and adorable as they may be, are a surprisingly hot-button legal issue. They're completely illegal in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC.
The reasons behind hedgehog bans are similar to bans on other small rodents. They can harm their environment if they become established in the wild, and they can transmit illnesses like foot-and-mouth disease to humans.2,6401,951Do you still want one anyway?
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Ferrets are only completely banned in two states - California and Hawaii - but some cities have also banned them (e.g. Dallas, New York City, and Washington, DC).
In California, ferrets are banned due to the risk that they could start a population of wild ferrets. Hawaii bans ferrets because they can carry rabies; this is of particular concern to the Hawaiian government because the state is free of rabies (and would like to keep it that way).2,4692,053Do you still want one anyway?