Sugar Gliders become legal pets in Madison - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Sugar Gliders become legal pets in Madison

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The types of animals people can legally have as pets in Madison has increased by one. Tuesday, the city council approved an exemption for sugar gliders from an exotic animal ordinance. Before that, people couldn't legally own them within city limits.

Sugar gliders are a lot like squirrels, except they're marsupials. They are native to Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Patrick Comfert, of Animal Services Madison and Dane County, says Kimberley Tadder contacted him about legalizing the pets in Madison. She lives outside city limits and has owned sugar gliders for years because Dane County doesn't have the same restrictions.

"They shouldn't have been breaking the law to have a pet that really shouldn't have been illegal in the first place," Tadder said about why she wanted the ordinance changed.

Comfert says sugar gliders fell under the exotic animal ordinance because they're marsupials, but they're not dangerous and can be good pets.

Tadder got her first in 2008 and now owns a dozen. She often wears them in a pouch around her neck and they're pretty happy in there since they're nocturnal. "They can bond very strongly to their human," she says.

Madison stores will now be able to sell sugar gliders, according to Comfert. "I mean it could open some doors -- regardless of whether we would get them through local breeders that we would get to know or rescue," Madison's Animart Store manager Dena Kyle says.

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