AZ Game and Fish: Keeping wildlife as pets is illegal, harmful to animals and owners

By Ron Dungan
Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2023 - 5:05pm
Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2023 - 5:06pm

Tiger cub in crate seized by Phoenix police
Phoenix Police Department
This tiger cub was seized by Phoenix police near 27th Avenue and Baseline Road after being offered for sale on social media on Jan. 23, 2023.

Police arrested a Phoenix man at his home Monday after reports that he tried to sell a tiger cub on social media.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department warns that keeping wildlife as pets is illegal and frequently harmful to animals and owners alike.

Experts say that exotic animals quickly grow out of the cute pet phase. They can spread disease, become expensive to feed, and can even turn on their owners.

It’s also illegal to keep tigers and other exotic animals in most states. Amy Burnett of the Arizona Game and Fish Department said that once the animals spend their early lives in captivity, they usually cannot be turned loose.

"These animals should be in the wild. There are more tigers in captivity in the world than there are in the wild. They’re an endangered species. And all of this just perpetuates that illegal trade," Burnett said.

The agency works with shelters to find new homes for exotic pets.