Departments weigh in on mice law

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Feb 5, 2014 in Rat Answers | Subscribe

Licensed pet stores would be able to sell mice and rats in Butte-Silver Bow under a suggested change in local law.

The county Animal Control Board discussed possible changes to the law late last week and forwarded its recommendations to the county attorney and the Council of Commissioners’ Judiciary Committee.

Animal Control Director Ed Randall said Tuesday the suggested changes would allow licensed pet stores to sell mice, rats, guinea pigs, gerbils and hamsters. Current local law prohibits raising or selling mice or rats.

The council recently placed a 90-day moratorium on the law so a pet store owner could resume selling the rodents as food for pet snakes, and so commissioners could consider changes to the ordinance enacted in 1977.

Under the suggested changes, the ordinance would exempt licensed pet stores from the ban on selling the rodents but they would have to meet certain standards for housing them, Randall said.

“For a mouse of less than six grams, they would have to have six inches to roam,” Randall said. “We don’t want stores to have 50,000 of them.”

The ordinance also would allow mice and rats to be used for scientific research. Also, each household would be allowed to have three of the animals as “feeders” or pets.

The Butte-Silver Bow Health Department also reviewed the law and is fine with the suggested changes, said health director Karen Sullivan.

The recommendations could be discussed by commissioners during their meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

– Reach Smith at or 406-496-5511.

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