JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Many Mississippians value their pets dearly, but some may have animals they legally cannot own without a permit.
Mississippi, like most other states, has restrictions on the animals the general population can own. These animals include non-human primates, wolves, bears, hyenas, big cats and more. The state classifies these and other animals as inherently dangerous. Mississippi, however, has some interesting animals on their list.
Cuon alpinus (Red dog)
Dholes, also known as red dogs are on the endangered list. These animals are native to Asia according to Animal Diversity Web. These dogs weigh anywhere between 37-46 pounds and live in packs ranging from 5-12 animals. Red dogs are omnivores, which means they eat plants and other animals. Their diet includes wild berries, insects, and lizards. Packs of dholes feast on mammals ranging from rodents wild pigs, hares, wild goats, sheep, deer and occasionally a monkey.
If not endangered, they might be amenable pets, as wild red dogs do not attack human beings. Although rare, dholes may attack livestock.
Lycaon pictus (African hunting dog)
This dog, commonly found in Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, parts of Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and the Transvaalis, is also endangered. African hunting dogs tend to prey on mammals that are about twice their weight. At times they will kill larger animals, and they will also take smaller prey individually. Some of the animals they prey on include small antelope such as impala, and bush duiker, and old, sick or injured larger animals such as wildebeest and zebra.
African hunting dog packs of up to 100 animals have been recorded. An average pack size, currently, is seven to 15 members. The average weight of these dogs is roughly 40-80 pounds. Their lifespan typically tops out at 11 years.
Gulo gulo (Wolverine)
Wolverines are not expected to go extinct anytime soon. However, they are a rare sight in the US, with harvesting only in Montana and Alaska. Their prey includes reindeer, roe deer, wild sheep, elk or red deer, maral and moose. Considering they weigh anywhere between 20-66 pounds, they eat animals well above their weight. In the wild, they can live up to 13 years.
Though wolverines are important members of the ecosystems in which they live, they are widely considered a nuisance. They are known to eat animals caught in fur traps and will break into cabins and food caches, eating and spraying the contents with its strong scent. Wolverines can even break into canned goods with their sharp canines. These animals are also very difficult to trap.
There is an exception to owning these and other animals in Mississippi. Individuals with a permit from the Mississippi Commission of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks can get around the prohibition. However, before one can get their permit to own their wolverine, the applicant must provide proof of a liability insurance policy worth $100,000. Public zoos, university research facilities, governmental agencies, transient circuses and rehabilitation and sanctuary facilities may be exempted from having a permit if the exemption is approved. If you want to give your wolverine away to a friend, you cannot sell, transfer, deliver, or give the wild animal classified as inherently dangerous to them unless the person holds a permit for the wild animal or is exempt from holding a permit.
The Mississippi Code also considers the following animals as inherently dangerous:
- Wolves, including crosses between wolves and domestic animals
- African buffalo