New York A9004 and S6903

Where: New York State

Status: S6903 hearing scheduled for 5/13/14.

What: A9004, sponsored by Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, prohibits contact with "wild animals" (listed below) and was sent to the Committee on Environmental Conservation.

S6903, sponsored by Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, prohibits contact with "wild animals" (listed below) and was sent to the Committee on Environmental Conservation.

These bills makes it illegal for any person to allow the public to have direct contact with a "wild animal."

"Direct contact" is defined as: physical contact with a wild animal or proximity to a wild animal where contact would be possible without a permanent barrier that prevents physical contact between the public and the animal.

Comments for A9004 can be made at http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/A9004-2013, which also has the bill text.

Committee member contacts for A9004 can be found at http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/?sec=mem&id=15.

Comments for S6903 can be made at http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S6903-2013, which also has the bill text.

Committee member contacts for S6903 can be found at http://www.nysenate.gov/committee/environmental-conservation.

Violators are subject to a fine up tp $500 for the first offense. Second and following offenses are subject to fines up to $1,000. Each instance of contact is considered an offense.

This bill does not consider treatment, care and examination by a veterinarian as an offense, or transportation for such purposes.

“Wild animal” includes, and is limited to, any or all of the following orders and families: (1) Nonhuman primates and prosimians, (2) Felidae and all hybrids thereof, with the exception of the species Felis catus (domesticated cats) and hybrids of Felis catus that are registered by the American Cat Fanciers Association or the International Cat Association provided that such cats be without any wild felid parentage for a minimum of five generations, (3) Canidae (with the exception of domesticated dogs and captive bred fennec foxes (vulpes zerda)), (4) Ursidae, (5) All reptiles that are venomous by nature, pursuant to department regulation, and the following species and orders: Burmese Python (Python m. bivittatus), Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus), African Rock Python (Python sabae), Green Anaconda (Eunectes maurinus), Yellow Anaconda (Eunectes notaeus), Australian Amethystine Python (Morelia amethistina and Morelia kinghorni), Indian Python (Python molurus), Asiatic (water) Monitor (Varanus salvator), Nile Monitor (Varanus nilocitus), White Throat Monitor (Varanus albigularis), Black Throat Monitor (Varanus albigularis ionides) and Crocodile Monitor (Varanus salvadori), Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodensis) and any hybrid thereof, (6)Crocodylia.

Sample Letter

No on S6903 and A9004

As a responsible reptile enthusiast and educator, I oppose S6903 and A9004. The lizards (monitors), crocodilians and non-venomous species of snakes listed in this bill are commonly used during responsible presentations to educate children and the public about reptiles. These programs do not allow interaction with venomous reptiles and only appropriate, well-mannered reptiles are allowed to interact with those in attendance. Also, these species are already regulated under other New York law.

By supporting this bill, you are removing another learning tool and motivational trigger for students to become motivated in school, to learn and to read. Personal interactions with these animals cannot be replicated and as the urbanization of America continues, these interactions are crucial for children to appreciate nature and animals. While I understand your concerns over public safety, there are no recorded incidents of serious injury from reptiles during these presentations.

This bill also affects businesses that earn revenue by giving these educational presentations. These businesses are licensed, insured and professional. They assure that no harm will come to the public during events. Also, many people will unknowingly be criminals as law such as this are unexpected. These presentations have been given for decades and now laws are being pushed by special interest organizations seeking to end the use of animals for any purpose by humans.

I ask you to oppose S6903 and A9004. If there are inhumane activities being conducted, those “bad actors” should be punished. Instead, new laws are punishing the majority, which are responsible pet keepers and animal educators.

Article written by USARK