Wisconsin Assembly Bill 703 was introduced January 31, 2014 and the first public hearing is February 4, 2014. View it at www.docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/related/proposals/ab703. 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/.
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.
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.
Biology of The Pitvipers Symposium: June 4-7 in Tulsa, OK. Learn more at www.biologyofthepitvipers.com and www.facebook.com/BiologyOfThePitvipersSymposium.