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Joe Manchin III, Governor

Frank Jezioro, Director


News Release : July 27, 2006


Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 558-3381

Contact: Curtis Taylor, Wildlife Resources Section Chief (304) 558-2771

Pet Permits Will No Longer be Issued for Raccoon, Fox and Skunk

Based upon the serious public health and wildlife disease concerns associated with the raccoon rabies virus, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) has determined it will no longer issue new Wildlife Pet Permits for raccoon, fox and skunk. NR has not issued Wildlife Importation Permits for these same species since 2001. “The decision to deny new applications for Wildlife Pet Permits for raccoon, fox and skunk has been made following careful deliberation and with concurrence from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and West Virginia Bureau for Public Health,” said DNR Director Frank Jezioro.

While all mammals are susceptible to infection by the rabies virus, raccoon, fox and skunks are considered high risk wildlife species for this disease. Furthermore, there is no licensed vaccine currently approved for veterinary use to protect these species from this disease.

The mid-Atlantic raccoon rabies epizootic, which began in the late 1970s, expanded rapidly and spread throughout the northeastern states by the mid-1990s. In an effort to stop the westward spread of raccoon rabies across North America, West Virginia has been participating in a regional oral rabies vaccine (Raboral V-RG) barrier program for the past six years. “The United States Department of Agriculture has spent millions of dollars in West Virginia to implement this raccoon rabies barrier program, and we simply cannot risk the potential success of this program by allowing the importation and/or possession of live raccoons, foxes or skunks as pets at this time,” noted Jezioro.

Current Wildlife Pet Permits for raccoon, fox and skunk will remain in effect and these permits will be renewed until the individual wildlife species covered under each of these permits expires.


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