Oregon Skunk Ownership

The State of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has proposed some changes that will affect pet skunk ownership in Oregon, if passed into law. The draft proposals are in various stages of review by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Division, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission. Oregon pet skunk owners have until March 4, 2016 to send their comments in.
On March 18, 2016, there will be a meeting to discuss and decide whether to adopt some, or all of these proposed changes.
Read all proposed changes here.

At this time, it appears that a Wildlife Holding Permit will be required and owners will be limited to 2 skunks unless they can get approval for more. Breeding is not allowed and skunks willOregon skunk ownership have to be spayed or neutered if two of the opposite sex are housed together. Ownership can only be transferred to other permit holders with prior approval. Facility or home checks may be required. Skunks are required to be permanently marked with a lip tattoo or RFID device. Caging requirements listed below must be met.

There is also quite a bit listed about grandfathering for wildlife that is currently, legally owned. The owners will have a year to comply with the new requirements, once they have been finalized.

Cage Requirements for Mustelids

Ermine (Mustela erminea)
Long-Tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata)
Skunk (Mephitis spp.)

• Enclosures require a 32 square foot area per animal with an enclosure at least 4 feet in height with a 2 square foot den box.
• Increase cage floor area by 25% for each additional animal.
• All caging will require a mesh or solid roof to prevent escape.
• Skunks require appropriate soil substrate for digging. A permanent wire mesh barrier is required across the cage floor, connected to the walls and buried beneath at least 18 inches of substrate such as soil or sand. Weasels make nests of grass, cornhusks, etc. which may be lined with fur and benefit from soft substrates that allow for burrowing.
• Environmental enrichment should be incorporated into enclosure design including enrichment toys and hiding and climbing structures.
ODFW DRAFT Exhibit 1, Chapter 635-Div 044 Jan 2016, page 8 of 13

Read all proposed cage requirements here.

Oregon skunk ownershipIt is sad that another state is determined to make it difficult, if impossible to own pet skunks. This is a slippery slope that can set a precedent for other states to follow. It appears that the State of Oregon makes no distinction between wild born or captive born skunks as pets. Oregon skunk ownership may be a thing of the past if something doesn’t happen. Hopefully there will be a response from concerned pet skunk owners in Oregon to get this document modified to something reasonable regarding pet skunk care. A pet skunk is member of the family, the same as a dog or cat and should receive the same basic rights. A permit is reasonable, but housing in a outside cage is outrageous! Please remember if you are one of the unfortunate pet skunk owners in Oregon, you only have until March 4, 2016, to make your feelings known. Best of luck in getting this turned around to reasonable guidelines!

Wildlife Division Directory
4034 Fairview Industrial Dr. SE
Salem, OR 97302
Main ODFW phone: 503-947-6000
Wildlife Division Main Line: 503-947-6301
ODFW.WildlifeInfo@state.or.us

6 thoughts on “Oregon Skunk Ownership

  1. Please, all “pet” skunk owners email the following link, and put in your educated, but polite information. We need as much input as we can to stop this. The link to the Draft January 2016, Protected Wildlife, Holding, and Propagating Rules is http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/ and the email for public comment is ODFW.WildlifeInfo@state.or.us

    What has happened is that a bunch of “wildlife” is being taken advantage of, abused, improperly kept, rescues are not following rules, etc. and the proposals are to help improve the quality of life of those animals, those WILD animals. However, indirectly, “PET” skunks have been blanketed into this proposal. If this passes, our pets will truly become wild, we will have to house them outside, in expensive enclosures, and treat them like caged wildlife. Please help provide ODFW with as many polite emails as we can, and please help spread the word. I have called them, and it is not looking good. Email as many people as you can please, and encourage them to email the state as well. I have sent an email, and have asked both of my vets and one Zoo vet to email them as well, and a local petting zoo. My fingers are crossed. I cannot bear the thought of my pet being forced outside, she will not survive this climate, or survive being alone. She sleeps in my bed!

  2. have you by chance heard any updates regarding this subject? I wrote to them, and I asked my vet and a few others to write to them, but I have not heard if there have been any changes to the proposal. My skunk is doing quite well by the way.

    1. From review the meeting notes, it doesn’t appear there were any changes to the proposed rules for pet skunks. I did see your letter and one from your Veterinarian. I was surprised there were not more Oregon pet skunk owners writing in but I have been told not all received the letter from the state and may not be aware of the issue.

  3. It is hard to be optimistic and I don’t see a benefit versus the cost of changing legislation. It would be labor intensive for the state to enforce the proposed rules. More than one Veterinarian suggested that people would be afraid to take their pet skunks to the vet for fear of being turned in. Very sad for all concerned!

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