Students care for unusual pets

Many students have strayed from popular pets like a dog or cat, and instead have alpacas or peacocks.

Ben Prengler

Many students have strayed from popular pets like a dog or cat, and instead have alpacas or peacocks.

Claire Peralta, Staff Reporter

Some people have dogs, cats, fish, or no pets at all. However, here on campus, some students have surpassed this level of normalcy with many unusual animals they call their own.

[sidebar title=”The prices of pets” align=”left”]

• In the first year of owning an alpaca, it can cost $62,300.

• In the first year of owning a cat or dog, dogs are more expensive, costing $1,260, and cats costing $1,070.

• The most expensive pet ever sold was a horse named Green Monkey, who was sold for $16 million.

• For someone who would rather have a more affordable pet, bugs cost little to nothing, but have a short life span. [/sidebar]

“I have alpacas, peacocks, cows, chickens, geese, a dog, two cats, and a lizard.” junior Sam Tillinghast said.

Owning so many animals may seem expensive, but the benefits of owning so many of these pets has tax advantages.

“We have a large amount of land, so by having all of these animals, we don’t have to pay taxes on the land,” Tillinghast said.

Under Property tax code 11.16, Texas law allows for property taxes to be exempt if the land is legally considered a farm: “Livestock, poultry, agricultural products and some nursery products are exempt when they are still in the hands of the person who raised them. Livestock and poultry must be owned by the person who is paying for their care on Jan. 1.”

The Tillinghast’s along with other families qualify for these exemptions.

“Our family has alpacas, because, why not have alpacas?” junior Audrey Swanson said. “We decided to get them because we don’t have to pay the taxes on our land.”

Unique pets come in all shapes and sizes, some even palm-sized.

“I have a hedgehog named Nacho,” senior Brad Jacobs said. “I feed him and give him water, and play with him and let him run on his wheel.”

Hedgehogs require a special environment in order to survive.

“The temperature in his cage has to be above 74 degrees at all times, otherwise he will go into hibernation and die,” Jacobs said.

For these students, there’s nothing overly unusual about their pets.

“Why not have a hedgehog or an alpaca or a horse?” Jacobs said.