The Falls Church City Council voted 5-2 (with Mayor Tarter and Dan Sze dissenting) to modify its code to expand the list of animals that can be kept at pets in the City, in a compromise from earlier proposals adding turtles, tortoises, hedgehogs, hermit crabs and chinchillas to the list. In particular, according to the staff report presented to the Council, a prohibition on lizards was maintained, and the language regarding snakes was modified to refer to “nonvenomous” as opposed to “nonpoisonous” snakes “less than eight feet in length.”
The new animals on the list are added to dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, ferrets, birds normally purchased through a pet store, goldfish and aquarium fish, and rabbits, mice and rats “which have been bred in captivity and which never have known the wild.”
Council member Letty Hardi noted in levity that “lions and tigers and bears” were not on the list.
Councilman Sze said he felt the added species, with restraints on their natural habitats and patterns of behavior, “Are not for human entertainment.”
Councilman Duncan noted that “pets of any kind are a tremendous responsibility” and that owners “need to treat all critters with respect.”