Vol. 33 Iss. 24 - July 24, 2017

Chapter 20
Final Regulation

REGISTRAR'S NOTICE: The Board of Game and Inland Fisheries is claiming an exemption from the Administrative Process Act pursuant to § 2.2-4002 A 3 of the Code of Virginia when promulgating regulations regarding the management of wildlife.

Title of Regulation: 4VAC15-20. Definitions and Miscellaneous: In General (amending 4VAC15-20-50).

Statutory Authority: §§ 29.1-103 and 29.1-501 of the Code of Virginia.

Effective Date: August 1, 2017.

Agency Contact: Phil Smith, Regulatory Coordinator, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 7870 Villa Park Drive, Suite 400, Henrico, VA 23228, telephone (804) 367-8341, or email


The amendments (i) remove reference to red fox from the list of animals defined as domestic animals, (ii) clarify the definition of a European rabbit to differentiate between domestic rabbit breeds and wild European rabbits, and (iii) allow individuals who already own red foxes and European rabbits as pets to keep them in captivity until the animal dies, provided the individual declares such possession to the department prior to January 1, 2018.

4VAC15-20-50. Definitions; "wild animal," "native animal," "naturalized animal," "nonnative (exotic) animal," and "domestic animal."

A. In accordance with § 29.1-100 of the Code of Virginia, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them by this section when used in regulations of the board:

"Native animal" means those species and subspecies of animals naturally occurring in Virginia, as included in the department's 2014 "List of Native and Naturalized Fauna of Virginia," with copies available in the Richmond and regional offices of the department.

"Naturalized animal" means those species and subspecies of animals not originally native to Virginia that have established wild, self-sustaining populations, as included in the department's 2014 "List of Native and Naturalized Fauna of Virginia," with copies available in the Richmond and regional offices of the department.

"Nonnative (exotic) animal" means those species and subspecies of animals not naturally occurring in Virginia, excluding domestic and naturalized species.

The following animals are defined as domestic animals:

Domestic dog (Canis familiaris), including wolf hybrids.

Domestic cat (Felis catus), including hybrids with wild felines.

Domestic horse (Equus caballus), including hybrids with Equus asinus.

Domestic ass, burro, and donkey (Equus asinus).

Domestic cattle (Bos taurus and Bos indicus).

Domestic sheep (Ovis aries) including hybrids with wild sheep.

Domestic goat (Capra hircus).

Domestic swine (Sus scrofa), including pot-bellied pig excluding any swine that are wild or for which no claim of ownership can be made.

Llama (Lama glama).

Alpaca (Lama pacos).

Camels (Camelus bactrianus and Camelus dromedarius).

Domesticated races of hamsters (Mesocricetus spp.).

Domesticated races of mink (Mustela vison) where adults are heavier than 1.15 kilograms or their coat color can be distinguished from wild mink.

Domesticated races of red fox (Vulpes vulpes) where their coat color can be distinguished from wild red fox.

Domesticated races of guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus).

Domesticated races of gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus).

Domesticated races of chinchillas (Chinchilla laniger).

Domesticated races of rats (Rattus norvegicus and Rattus rattus).

Domesticated races of mice (Mus musculus).

Domesticated races breeds of European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc. and any lineage resulting from crossbreeding recognized breeds. A list of recognized rabbit breeds is available on the department's website.

Domesticated races of chickens (Gallus).

Domesticated races of turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo).

Domesticated races of ducks and geese distinguishable morphologically from wild birds.

Feral pigeons (Columba domestica and Columba livia) and domesticated races of pigeons.

Domesticated races of guinea fowl (Numida meleagris).

Domesticated races of peafowl (Pavo cristatus).

"Wild animal" means any member of the animal kingdom, except domestic animals, including without limitation any native, naturalized, or nonnative (exotic) mammal, fish, bird, amphibian, reptile, mollusk, crustacean, arthropod or other invertebrate, and includes any hybrid of them, except as otherwise specified in regulations of the board, or part, product, egg, or offspring of them, or the dead body or parts of them.

B. Exception for red foxes and European rabbits. Domesticated red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) having coat colors distinguishable from wild red foxes andwild ] European rabbits possessed in captivity on July 1, 2017, may be maintained in captivity until the animal dies, but the animal may not be bred or sold without a permit from the department. Persons possessing domesticated red foxes or European rabbits without a permit from the department must declare such possession in writing to the department by January 1, 2018. This written declaration must include the number of individual animals in possession and date acquired, sex, estimated age, coloration, and a photograph of each fox or European rabbit. This written declaration shall (i) serve as a permit for possession only, (ii) is not transferable, and (iii) must be renewed every five years.

VA.R. Doc. No. R17-5066; Filed June 29, 2017, 2:53 p.m.