It's pretty common to see dogs walking in the streets and cats basking in the sun around the Sioux Empire. Squirrels do the same except they do not have owners calling them by name...or do they?

Usually, people know not to disturb the wildlife and to allow these creatures to live naturally.  However, sometimes individuals see wild animals that are injured and want to care for them. This may lead to people keeping them permanently as normal, household pets. Squirrels can never really return to nature once they are domesticated.

So can you legally own squirrels in Sioux Falls and South Dakota? Furthermore, can you take a squirrel home if it is injured? Well...it's kind of complicated. However, it appears that owning a squirrel is not totally illegal in the state.

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While I was stopping at the Starbucks along Louise Avenue, I saw pictures of pets displayed on the drive-thru window. One of those pets was....a squirrel! I was genuinely curious, so I just had to find out more.

According to Animal Control in Sioux Falls, it's best that you do not approach an injured or sick animal. Wildlife is "built to survive and if you care about it, then leave it alone." The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society even recommends individuals contact Animal Control if they happen to see a baby squirrel without its mom. It's just better for the squirrel's quality of life.

On the other hand, having a squirrel as a pet in Sioux Falls or in the state is not illegal. Born Free USA explains that residents must have a permit to possess "any non-domestic mammal" along with an examination from a veterinarian. Other than the obvious choice of leaving wildlife alone, you can shockingly own a squirrel in Sioux Falls.

Who knows, maybe you'll see a squirrel on a leash in the dog park next!

Jefferson High School

 

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