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Tennessee lawmakers consider bill that would allow skunks as pets

Lovers of unusual pets may want to set their sights on Tennessee. The state is considering a bill to decriminalize skunks as pets.

On Wednesday, the state Senate voted 27-3 to allow state residents to have domesticated skunks. The state House of Representatives has endorsed the bill but has yet to officially vote on it, according to Nashville Public Radio.

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Senate Bill 1821 would amend the state's game and fish law that prohibits “importation, possession or transfer of live skunks so that skunk ownership and propagation may be regulated by the wildlife resources commission,” according to the Tennessee General Assembly.

“In Tennessee, you can have foxes, you can have porcupines, you can have all kinds of stuff,” Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, told WSMV. “When you think that a skunk can sell for $1,000, I mean, this is a big deal. People from out of state will buy our skunks.”

Supporters of the bill say skunks make lovely pets. They would have to have their scent glands removed and be spayed or neutered.

However, the bill doesn't have unanimous support.

“I'm probably the only senator up here that actually had a pet skunk when I was a child,” Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, told Nashville Public Radio. “I really don't recommend them.”

According to PBS, there are currently 17 states that allow skunks to be kept as pets: Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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