If it’s venomous, a bird that can’t fly or a feline that’s not commonly domesticated, chances are you can’t legally own it in Denton.
Denton’s City Code Chapter 6 outlines local law about animals, including the prohibited animals you can’t keep as pets.
“Rarely do we get calls about [prohibited animals],” said Nicole Heyer, a supervisor at Denton Animal Services. “We have recently received one about a fox that is owned.”
Generally, you can’t own a prohibited animal, but you can get a permit to own one through the Animal Services Unit. These permits can be issued to zoos, research institutions and individual researchers, public or private schools, performing animal exhibitions, rodeos, circuses and carnivals as long as the animal is restrained from hurting anyone.
Classes of venomous reptiles, vipers and snakes, flightless birds such as ostriches and emus, bats and felines that aren’t commonly domesticated are among some of the animals you can’t legally own.
Just like in Houston, where a tiger wandered through a neighborhood after escaping a house, Denton residents can’t own their own large, striped cat. Ocelots, margays, jaguars, leopards and cougars are a no-no as well.
Locals can’t own weasels or other animals in the Mustelidae family. The possum and raccoon creeping outside your home at night can’t live with you, either.
Unlike Frida Kahlo, Denton residents can’t legally own any kind of primate. The little Bambi your child might see as well as other animals in the Ungulata family can’t be a part of the family, either.
You can, however, own 25 pigeons. Just don’t hit 26. Chapter 6, Section 25, states pigeon owners can’t intentionally allow their pigeons to stray into the city, residents can’t own more than 25 pigeons, and owners must keep their enclosures clean enough to not give off offensive odors.
Similarly, you can’t have more than eight hens on a single parcel of property in a residential neighborhood. Prospective livestock owners can only own livestock in the corporate limits of the city if they have at least one acre of land for them.
Piglets in the house are out of the question, too, if the pig’s enclosure is within 1,000 feet of another building.
“It shall be unlawful for any person to feed or keep any species of swine in any lot, pen, building, stable, or other enclosure in the city, any part of which lot, pen, building, stable or other enclosure is nearer than one thousand (1,000) feet to any building,” the code states.
Heyer said if a resident notices someone owns a prohibited animal, they should call Animal Services so they can start an investigation.
“We’ll work with the owner, advise them it’s prohibited and work with them on relocating the animal, whether it’s to a rescue organization or rehoming them in a city without regulations,” she said.