Dear Pennsylvania Game Committee,
I am writing you today to say that African Pygmy hedgehogs should be legal pets in our great state of Pennsylvania. I have done extensive research and have come to the conclusion that while I understand the reasoning for them being banned, there is more logical reasoning why the prickly creatures should be permitted as legal pets in our great state.
I understand from email correspondence with your office the reason hedgehogs became illegal in the first place is due to concern over them getting into the wild and eating insects and other wildlife. However, in reality, African Pygmy hedgehogs can only sustain life in temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and if African Pygmy hedgehogs are exposed to cooler temperatures they will go into hibernation and die. In PA only 3.5 months have an average of 70 degrees or above, so they would not be able to sustain life. Of the five other states that hedgehogs are illegal (California, Arizona, Georgia, Maine, and Hawaii), four have a higher number of months with an average of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Therefore, African Pygmy hedgehogs should not be considered dangerous or injurious to our environment in PA due to the short lifespan they would have in our climate.
There is also fear of diseases that hedgehogs can carry to other animals. For an example, livestock can carry most, if not all zoonotic diseases; zoonotic diseases are defined as diseases that come from animals but can be given to humans. The problem with withholding hedgehogs from our citizens is that these diseases are very common already in PA. Also, there is already medication and/or vaccination to treat these diseases. Leptospira Pomona is one of the diseases that there is concern about hedgehogs spreading, This theory is faulty because Leptospira Pomona is already a very common disease among cattle in PA. It is spread mostly by rats when they urinate in water and then other animals drink the infected water. Keeping hedgehogs out would not prevent it from spreading. Also, it is very easy to treat with an inexpensive vaccine if caught early.
Hedgehogs can also serve as therapy animals which can help to better the lives of individuals in our life. Making people's lives with clinical issues better.
Pennsylvania is a beautiful state and I know none of us would ever want to put that beauty in jeopardy, with that being said I'm sure you can see that there is no reason for us to be withholding a pet loved by people in 44 states of our great nation. I know you want to do what is best for our