A recent post in a Facebook group devoted to finding lost pets captured the attention of the Hudson Valley. It wasn't a cat or dog that had slipped out of the owner's home, but a fox.

"Eevee slipped out of our dog door sometime last night without her AirTag on", began a post in Lost Pets of the Hudson Valley. "I’m hoping she’s still on our property somewhere but I’m very anxious we might lose our special girl". While many commenters shared positive messages, others were wondering the same thing: is keeping a fox as a pet legal in New York?

What does New York State law say about owning exotic animals like fennec foxes?
What does New York State law say about owning exotic animals like fennec foxes? (jkraft5 via Canva)
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Are Exotic Animals Legal to Keep as Pets in New York State?

While New York state law has clear language banning the private ownership of wild animals ("indigenous, non-domesticated animals native to the country") and exotic animals ( "a wild animal with an origin of a different continent"), there's one type of fox that might slip between these guidelines.

The fennec fox was legal to keep as a pet in New York, but new laws might change things
The fennec fox was legal to keep as a pet in New York, but new laws might change things (Sergei Dubrovskii via Canva)
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Fennic Foxes as Pets in New York State

While gray and red foxes, animals that are both native to New York state, are illegal to keep as pets, the fennec fox, which is native to North Africa, is legal in some parts of New York state with some possible stipulations:

New York City has stricter pet laws than the rest of the state
New York City has stricter pet laws than the rest of the state (Life On White/Billion Photos via Canva)
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Strict Pet Laws in New York City

Outside of New York City, which has particularly strict laws regarding which animals can be kept as pets (no ducks, llamas, iguanas, or goats allowed) fennec foxes, the smallest fox in the world, are legal to keep as pets... for now.

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New Laws Regarding Exotic Pets in New York State

The definition of animals legally allowed to be kept as pets was amended last year in New York due to an exotic pet dealer selling animals like sloths and kangaroos. Luckily for current owners of animals like fennec foxes, the law states that "anyone who currently possesses a wild animal at the start of the enactment clause [can] retain possession of the animal for the rest of its life." See the other animals that may no longer be legal to buy after the amendment below.

10 Exotic Animals You Can Legally Have as Pets In New York

Looking for an exotic pet in New York State? Here are 8 animals you can legally have.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

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Gallery Credit: Conor Walsh