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Lawmakers Review Bill Allowing Hedgehogs as Pets Without a Special Permit

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State lawmakers held a hearing on a bill that would allow Mainers to buy and own hedgehogs as pets without a permit on Tuesday.

Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn sponsored the proposal. He says Maine is one of a handful of states that requires owners to obtain a special permit to own a hedgehog — the same permit required to own a tiger or an elephant.

“I hope we can all agree that hedgehog ownership does not require the same level of bureaucracy as tiger ownership,” he says.

Hedgehogs are currently listed as a special permit species by the state. However, James Connolly with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says Brakey’s bill isn’t necessary because the state has been evaluating its special permit list and hedgehogs are soon expected to be treated as other pets, such as rabbits or hamsters.

“This would allow pet stores to sell and the public to buy, sell, trade or own pygmy hedgehogs without a permit,” he says.

Lawmakers are expected to kill Brakey’s bill later this week.