City Hall sig

Lockport City Hall at 1 Locks Plaza

The Common Council is being asked to approve a special permit for a Sunnyside Street home owner to continue keeping an arctic fox as a pet.

A public hearing was held on Wednesday and the council will have to schedule a vote to decide on the special use permit. 5th Ward Alderman Rick Abbott said it can approve the request as is, decline it, or set specific conditions and pass it.

In 2016, Amanda Demarco said she applied for a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to have an arctic fox for educational purposes. She had informed the City of Lockport about her intentions to own the fox, and said it was kind of left in the air if a federal license would be enough. 

She said she purchased the animal from a breeder in Indiana who has been breeding foxes since the 1970s. She added the fox is domesticated.

"He is by all means a domesticated animal. He's not wild. He was never in the wild," Demarco said. 

As part of being compliant with both the USDA and the Department of Environmental Conservation, she has annual unannounced inspections. 

She added that a Russian study has been done that shows it only took four generations to domesticate foxes. 

Demarco said she just wants the special use permit to continue having her fox until it passes away, which she noted is at most two years away because they have a life range of three to six years and her fox is 4 years old. 

"He's already showing signs of aging," she added. 

Alderman-at-Large Larry Eggert and Common Council President Mark Devine both expressed support for the special use permit. 

Devine, who represents the ward the fox is in, said he met the fox and has no problem with giving them the special use permit. 

"It was playful. Just like a regular dog you would have in the house," Devine said.  

Abbott and 4th Ward Alderman David Wohleben both said they are undecided how they are going to vote and that they need to think about the request more.

Recommended for you