First public hearing is February 4, 2014
Wisconsin Assembly Bill 703 was introduced January 31, 2014 and the first public hearing is February 4, 2014. This bill makes changes to the laws relating to the possession of certain wild animals. It impacts these reptile species (and other exotic species viewable in the bill link) immediately: Crocodylia: an alligator of any species, crocodile of any species, caiman of any species, or gharial.
The reason for alarm with this bill is that it gives the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) rulemaking power to add any species of animal as “harmful wild animal.” That means DNR could list additional species as “harmful wild animals” without public input. From the bill: “The law authorizes DNR to designate other wild animals that satisfy specified criteria as harmful wild animals.”
View more details at www.usark.org/uncategorized/2014-wisconsin-assembly-bill-703/.
Cat Ex Update and Action Alert (Comment Period Reopened)
Action Alert: This rule would allow USFWS to add species as injurious (making importation, interstate commerce and interstate transportation illegal) without full due process afforded under the law. This affects reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, small mammals and a huge portion of the pet industry. Any species listed would disappear from the pet community. Spread this information to all pet owners and protect your rights. The U.S. Federal Government needs to hear your voices! Remember to be civil and professional in any correspondence. This “Categorical Exclusion” would make USFWS exempt from NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) requirements.
You can view the Action Alert with 3 steps on how to support your herp and exotic pet community at www.usark.org/action-alert/usfws-categorical-exclusion-2/.
You can also view additional USARK information and action concerning Cat Ex atwww.usark.org/uncategorized/catex-update-and-usark-in-d-c-92413/.
West Virginia SB 371 Action Alert
The purpose of this bill is to prohibit the possession of wild and exotic animals (including herps) through a permit system, providing rule-making capability to authorities. Through rule-making, legislatures can first set broad definitions and statutes, then create stricter regulations without public comment or awareness. The rule-making process can easily lead to overreaching regulations. For example, a list of prohibited animals could be set in 2014 and then amended at will by authorities.
View the Action Alert and information for this bill at www.usark.org/2014-blog/2014-west-virginia-sb-371/.
Tarantula and Exotic Pet Keepers Action Alert
Please take a couple minutes and let USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service) know your concerns regarding listing 11 non-native species of tarantula under the ESA (Endangered Species Act). This could end the trade of captive bred animals. If you do nothing else, please go to the comments site and say something such as:
“Regardless of ESA listing of one or more species, please provide for the exemption of captive bred animals from the possession and interstate sales regulation.”
Comment at http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0107-0001 (Deadline is 2/3/14).
View much more information and a message from Christian Elowsky (President of the American Tarantula Society) at www.usark.org/2014-blog/tarantula-and-exotic-pet-keeper-comments-needed/.
New York A 2869
A2869 has again been referred to the Agriculture Committee (Assembly). The bill was introduced in 2013 and is back in 2014. A2869 will make, “Any person owning, possessing or harboring a wild animal or reptile capable of inflicting bodily harm upon a human being” guilty of a class E felony. This bill is upgrading the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony. You can contact legislators to let them know this is an unnecessary use of time and money, and a very harsh punishment for someone who may not be aware of this law.
View more information at www.usark.org/2014-blog/2014-new-york-a2869/.
Washington State Residents
Below is a message from Predators of the Heart Sanctuary:
A group in Anacortes, Washington will soon face the same legislation as Ohio. Currently there is a law in the works that will ban all exotics with no grandfathering. This means that without your help dozens, if not more, animals will be without homes. Without homes means that they will inevitably be put down. What we’re asking is just ten minutes of your time, to either call or send an email to the county commissioners and let them know the impact their decision will have. The hearing will be held on February 4th, in Mount Vernon, Washington at 9:30 am. The address is 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon, 98273. If you cannot attend, PLEASE send an email to email@example.com, or give them a call at (360) 336-9300. Your voice can make the difference, and put an end to this and guarantee a safe future for the animals at Predators of The Heart, a local sanctuary/rescue/educational group (www.predatorsoftheheart.com).
New Jersey S381
This bill requires every applicant for a permit to possess a live potentially dangerous indigenous animal or a live potentially dangerous exotic animal to obtain and provide proof of liability insurance in an amount of not less than $250,000 for each potentially dangerous animal prior to the issuance of the permit.
View more information at www.usark.org/2014-blog/2014-new-jersey-s381/.
News and Upcoming Events
David Northcott health battle: Support a fellow herper. Dave Northcott is a remarkable person, award-winning photographer and cherished member of the herp community. He is battling a heart condition and has been informed he will need a transplant. You can support him at www.gofundme.com/6g1rak. We wish you well, Dave. You can also view a post at www.kingsnake.com/blog/archives/1844-Finding-a-heart-for-a-herper.html.
Cancer Battle: A fellow herper, Patrick Gerbert (TattooedGiants Reticulated Pythons), is battling stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A fundraising page has been started at www.gofundme.com/Help-Patrick. Also, Travis Kubes and others are holding auctions on the Retic Nation Facebook page (www.facebook.com/groups/TheReticNation/) to benefit Patrick. We wish you the best in your fight, Patrick.
NARBC Arlington and Tinley Park: NARBC hits Texas on February 15-16 and Tinley Park, IL March 15-16. NARBC presents some of the premier shows in the country with top vendors and great promoters, Bob Ashley and Brian Potter. Be sure to attend the USARK/PIJAC benefit auctions, held Saturday nights of shows, to protect your rights to keep reptiles and amphibians as pets. NARBC raised over $100,000 to support the pet community and Rico Walder in 2013. Support those that support you. Get all the details atwww.NARBC.com.
TXARK Presentation: The TXARK Board of Directors will be holding a public meeting at NARBC Arlington. The talk is scheduled for 3:00 PM on Saturday, February 15. This is a very important meeting for all Texas herpers to attend. TXARK will allow you to protect your rights at the state and local levels. They will also spread awareness of the herp community. Thank you, TXARK Board, for starting this organization!
RAACA Reptile Room Makeover Raffle: Enter for your chance to win $10,000+ in caging from Jeff Ronne (The Boaphile) and support USARK. Only 2500 tickets will be sold. Buy tickets and get details at www.RAACA.net. The drawing is February 22. Winning ticket will be pulled at a LLL Reptile retail location by a random child (not by anyone affiliated to the raffle). Videos will be posted as well.
Texas Rattlesnake Festival: This inaugural event will happen March 8-9 in Round Rock, TX. Share and spread the word. This is an educational event and no snakes will be harmed. This needs to be the future of rattlesnake-related events. Help make it a reality!
"Our purpose and goal is to educate others of the beauty and values of these animals in hopes that people will develop a greater appreciation and respect for them. We hope to reduce or end the needless slaughter of of an animal that is gravely misunderstood. All animals on display at this event will be from private collections. In order to ensure no animals are captured for this event, no animals will be brought into the show without making prior arrangements with the show staff." – TRF
OKC Elite Reptile Show: After a great first show, the second OKC Elite show hits Oklahoma City on May 3-4. More information will be posted at https://www.facebook.com/events/254930164657115/?fref=ts.
National Reptile & Amphibian Advisory Council (NRAAC) Law Symposium: March 7-9, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Registration is free but limited to the first 200 registrants. The event will include three days of panels, workshops, breakout sessions and talks with the goal of bringing all parties interested in reptiles, amphibians and the law to the table. Discussion will be focused on changes and issues with current and proposed herp laws and regulations at the local, state, federal and international levels. Get the details at http://www.nraac.org/symposium2014.html.