Bringing home a sweet, large-eared exotic animal can be quite the treat- especially when this animal is a sociable Fennec fox. However, understanding where and how to legally acquire this animal (and if it is even legal for you to own one) is an important first step.
Where you can get a Fennec fox varies based on your location. First, ensure it is legal to own/possess one in your country. In the US, there is further jurisdiction on a state-by-state basis. Check that you can legally own one in your state, and then check where you can legally import them from.
If you are located in a state in the United States that does not permit the ownership of Fennec foxes, then you will either need to move to a state where you can legally own one, or you should choose another pet. Even still, in most countries, including the United States, it is legally required to purchase an exotic pet (including a Fennec fox) from a licensed, reputable breeder. Let’s take a closer look at how you can bring a Fennec Fox home starting with where to get one.
Where Can You Own a Fennec Fox?
Interestingly, before we take a closer look at where you can acquire a Fennec fox, it is important to understand where you can own a Fennec fox in the first place. This is because if you are not legally permitted to own a Fennec fox, then attempting to bring one home with you would not only be illegal (or illegal without a permit, in some locations), but it could jeopardize the quality of life for the animal.
Specifically, if you were to attempt to bring a Fennec fox home in an illegal or non-permitted location, and the law was to be enforced, this could mean that the Fennec fox would be required to be displaced from the place it had come to know as home- something that could cause health issues and behavioral concerns.
With that said, it is important to know that you are able to bring a Fennec fox legally onto your residence, both to possess and to own the animal. Now, there are many locations where the legal jargon is rather ambiguous about whether or not a Fennec fox should be classified with other foxes or should be separated and considered an exotic animal. And, these distinctions can make all of the difference in regards to the classification and associated laws.
Still, if you are wondering if you can own a Fennec fox in your country or state, it is important to work your way “down” in terms of legality in the largest area (country) to state (or providence) and then to your local town. While owning a Fennec fox might be legal in one of these domains or subdomains, that does not mean that this is necessarily the case for your local area. Checking all of these is important.
So, while the list of locations that you can own a Fennec fox might be confusing, you can always check with your local jurisdiction (likely through the Department of Agriculture or Natural Wildlife or something similar), and with any licensed reputable breeder.
There are many countries (including the United States) in which a Fennec fox is permitted, yet there are several states in these countries where either permits are required to own and possess them, conditional permits are instilled, or the animal is simply prohibited. (I have created a more thorough review of the states in the US that permit Fennec foxes here.) It is important to check with your local jurisdiction or consult the nearest exotic veterinarian to know if you can legally own a Fennec fox in your area.
Can You Import a Fennec Fox from Anywhere?
Now that you know how to check where you can own a Fennec fox (by consulting your national, state, and local governing bodies and documents), it is time to take your search to the next logical step- finding out if it is legal to import a Fennec fox into your local area or if the exotic animal has to come from a local breeder.
Interestingly, in the United States, there are many laws that dictate where a Fennec fox can be imported from- largely coming from states where they are legal, being sent to states where the animal can be owned by a private person, and coming from a licensed, reputable breeder.
If you were to look at the Kentucky state laws, for example, concerning Fennec fox possession by a private person, you would find that it is legal to own a Fennec fox, but the animal cannot be imported from another state. That is, you could not purchase it from a breeder from outside of the state of Kentucky. Unfortunately, there are no known breeders found in the state, meaning that although you can technically own one, there is not a realistic option for bringing one into the state.
You can see how this legal jargon might be confusing as well as highly frustrating when you are just attempting to bring home a new furry friend. However, if you are tempted to forgo the legal requirements, you might not want to hold your breath. In the majority of locations, reputable breeders will require accurate documentation to ensure that their animal is being sent to a good (including legal) home.
Along with this, you might have to get the sign-off from your Fennec fox’s exotic veterinarian after your pet receives its standard vaccinations. If owning or importing a Fennec fox is not legal in your area, then this could mean that the veterinarian could not sign off on the appropriate paperwork required for you to bring the pet into the town.
Still, there are many licensed, reputable breeders who are all over the country and the world who happily search for the right fit for their precious Fennec foxes. Even so, if you are going to bring a Fennec fox into your home (and family), then it must be legal to own as well as import the animal unless you can purchase it from a local breeder and then simply gain the appropriate permission for owning it.
Is it Better to Buy a Fennec Fox Locally or have it Shipped?
So, we have addressed that you first need to check whether or not it is legal to own a Fennec fox in your local area before you can get one. Then, if you are not planning on purchasing one from a local breeder, you need to make sure that it is legal to import the animal into your area- as importation and ownership can fall under two different legal components depending on your local jurisdiction.
With that said, you might be wondering if it is better to buy a Fennec fox locally or have it shipped and imported from another location. With this, there are two major areas to think about. First, you want to consider what is best for the animal. Along with this, you will have to check to make sure that either option is legal before you can go forward with it- something that will also be good for the animal.
In terms of the animal’s best interest, it is almost always better to be purchased locally than to be shipped across the country or the world. Now, your Fennec fox is not just going to be placed in a box, labeled, and sent across the country. However, the care that these pets require is not well-met while the animal is in travel. This can cause concerns for your pet, especially if the Fennec fox is shifting from one climate to another.
Consider that the Fennec fox is native to the Sahara desert where it is hot during the day and cool at night. If your animal was captive-bred and raised in a climate that is hot, or at least seasonal, and then sent to a dry, cool environment, this would be a big adjustment that the animal might not be prepared for.
This does not mean that the animal would perish under your care, but you might be required to provide special care in addition to the needs that this pet already requires. Not only would the environment play a role, but if you are purchasing the Fennec fox from a local licensed breeder (or as local as possible), you can be more confident that you will have access to an exotic veterinarian- something required for a Fennec fox.
This ties back into what is legal (and consequently going to be good for the Fennec fox as well as you). If there are no local dealers in your county or state, but you are legally able to import and own the animal (likely upon receipt of a permit), then shipping it can be an option.
Still, you will need to check to make sure that the pet is coming from a highly reputable breeder that can provide you a guarantee of the animal’s health, history, and more. Purchasing from a non-licensed breeder is not only illegal in many locations, but it is highly dangerous for pets to be bred in this way.
So, if you are looking for where to get a Fennec fox, start with where it is legal to own one. Then, find out where you can purchase one (locally or farther away) from a number of websites online. Finally, stick with as local of a purchase as possible to ensure the proper care and legal requirements for obtaining and caring for this new pet.