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Pennsylvania Law Could Ban Reptiles

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Legislation intended to ban possession of certain “exotic wildlife” could prohibit ownership of hamsters, reptiles and other animals in the pet trade, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Washington, D.C. reported, noting that the bill has passed the state’s House and now awaits an “imminent” vote in the state’s senate.

Under House Bill 1398, the Pennsylvania Game Commission would no longer issue new permits for the personal possession of animals defined as “exotic wildlife,” including all “nonindigenous animals” not specifically exempted.
PIJAC’s issue with the bill is that nonindigenous animals are not defined and the organization contends that states should “specifically list species subject to restriction rather than relying on a subjective definition.”


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PIJAC urged people to contact Pennsylvania state senators soon to voice concerns that the law, as written, could prohibit hamsters, reptiles and other animals. The Senate vote could come at any time, PIJAC reported.
Animals that would be exempted from the definition of nonindigenous animals  include all birds, rats, mice, chinchillas, rabbits, hedgehogs, domestic ferrets, domestic guinea pigs and “domestic animals,” which includes, dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs, sheep and goats.
Among the animals that the legislation would prohibit possession of as “exotic wildlife” include bears, coyotes, lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs,  cougars, wolves and any crossbreeds of these animals. 
The law, which would go into effect January 1, 2013, if approved, would apply to animals even if they were bred or reared in captivity.