Louisiana to hold public hearing on House Bill 1354 targeting reptiles and amphibians.
Louisiana legislators have introduced a bill that seeks to expand current licensing regulations to include certain non-indigenous and poisonous snakes. A public hearing on the measure is scheduled for May 5.
As introduced, House Bill 1354 would require any person buying, acquiring or handling any live species of native reptile or amphibian, or any live species of poisonous snake or constrictor, in the state for sale or resale to acquire a reptile and amphibian wholesale/retail dealer’s license. Current law covers native reptiles or amphibians only. Permits would be issued by the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and cost $105 for Louisiana residents and $405 for non-residents.
In addition, the bill would require permits for the importation and private possession of constrictor snakes longer than 12 feet and venomous snakes. For a complete list of the snakes, click here.
Violators would be subject to fines ranging from $250 to $1,000 or imprisonment or both. Violators may also have their permit revoked.
The House Natural Resources & Environment Committee is scheduled to hear the bill on May 5, 9:30 a.m. CDT, in the state capitol building.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) has issued a Pet Alert in which the organization contends that requiring a permit for the handling of live species of reptile and amphibians would limit many reptile dealers’ day-to-day business activities and affect reptile shows. PIJAC also stated that requiring permits for private ownership could spur an underground market, since permit fees and penalties are “lofty.”
“We recommend that Louisiana adopt a more sustainable and flexible regulatory mechanism to handle these species,” PIJAC said in the PetAlert. “The state of Florida has adopted a viable Reptile of Concern program that includes permitting and microchipping in a reasonable manner.”