INDIANAPOLIS – Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control is warning residents that city rules prohibit possession of wildlife following a move by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to abandon regulating such animals.
"In response to the morning coverage regarding wildlife, city officials would like to remind residents that wildlife are regulated locally by city ordinance," a news release said. "Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control also reminds all area residents that wildlife should not be kept as pets."
According to the agency, wildlife is considered an immediate public safety hazard if it is inside your living space and city residents are advised to contact 260-427-1244.
The release came on the heels of news that The Journal Gazette first reported online Wednesday that the DNR can no longer regulate privately owned wild animals because of a recent Indiana Court of Appeals ruling.
These animals include privately owned animals such as raccoons, bears, venomous snakes, tigers and more.
"Wildlife cannot be domesticated: Domestication is a process that takes centuries within an animal species. Dogs and cats have been bred as pets for thousands of years. You can’t simply love the wild out of an animal," the release said.
Many animals could still be covered under a federal U.S. Department of Agriculture permit but not all of them.
For instance, the federal permit covers only mammals. But the state permit covered venomous snakes or alligators and crocodiles longer than 5 feet.
Also, the USDA requires a federal license if the person is exhibiting, breeding or selling the animals.
The state permit went further to cover anyone simply possessing wild animals as pets. It had extensive enclosure and care requirements for the animals, as well as inspection powers.
More than 260 state wild animal possession permits had been issued before the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in a separate case on hunting privately owned deer behind high fences.
Lawmakers are considering options to repair the situation.