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Lawsuit Update

Before we get into this update, USARK would like to again clearly emphasize one glaring point. A point which has thus far throughout this case become obvious to even the Defendants, the anti-pet groups that pushed these listings, and even many who believed the sensationalized and painfully inaccurate media coverage of this lawsuit and these snakes.

The point: If the final ruling of this lawsuit is based upon fact and legitimate science, USARK and the Reptile Nation will prevail.

To say this lawsuit is about more than snakes is an understatement. To say this lawsuit is about more than reptiles is an understatement. This lawsuit even travels beyond the greater pet community. This is a lawsuit proving that David can slay Goliath, and that justice is still alive in America.

Now onto the lawsuit update.

On Friday (May 15, 2015), USARK and FWS filed supplemental briefs supporting their stances on the preliminary injunction. Both parties were limited to submissions of only seven pages. USARK again presented well-formed and steadfast arguments.

Among many other points, USARK included the regulations that are already enforced in Florida and Texas for these species. The extreme size of Texas was also noted as according to the range maps used for these listings, only a minuscule portion of Texas has even potentially suitable habitat. Even should the Court choose to exclude areas of the continental U.S. from the injunction, only that small area of Texas should be excluded and not the entire state.

USARK discussed the faulty science used for these listings. Our brief also provided factual biological information regarding these snakes.

FWS has suggested the Court stay (or halt) the injunction for 75 days. They argue this is the amount of time needed to decide whether or not to appeal. In response to the exclusion of Florida and Texas from the injunction, FWS says they should be excluded, claiming these snakes will wreak havoc on the U.S. FWS chose not to mention the regulations already enforced in Florida and Texas.

FWS went so far as to make a determination for the Court regarding what it has the power to do. FWS stated that, "any injunction must be limited to:"
  1. Individually-named plaintiffs who submitted declarations demonstrating irreparable harm;
  2. USARK members who were current before we filed our second amended complaint in March 2015, and who owned reticulated pythons or green anacondas at that time.
Shortly after our briefs were filed, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) jointly moved to intervene in our case. HSUS previously filed an amicus brief which was allowed by the Court. The brief offered absolutely nothing of value to the Court.

This HSUS brief claimed that constrictor snakes require ultraviolet light exposure and live prey. Reptile veterinarians, accredited snake physiologists and biologists, professional herpetologists and tens of thousands of responsible snake keepers in the U.S. would beg to differ and have proven otherwise.

USARK President Phil Goss offered this rebuttal. "If this is true, I'm quite unsure how several constrictor snakes in my care have now lived over twelve years in perfect health while never at any time being exposed to ultraviolet lighting or receiving live prey items. It must be something in the Indiana water."

This extreme inaccuracy alone should provide sufficient evidence that HSUS has nothing to offer the Court in regard to this case. Illustrating the absence of even a rudimentary understanding of the biology and husbandry requirements of these snakes, HSUS and like-minded groups will merely present shameful propaganda and odious sensationalism in an effort to divert the Court from the truth. The HSUS brief was filled with copious amounts of misinformation.

The status conference is scheduled for May 18. The Court will make a final injunction ruling after reviewing the briefs and hearing oral arguments.

USARK has presented a strong, clear and factual case. The Court has granted our motion for preliminary injunction, which in itself is momentous. USARK is proving these injurious listings were unjust, overreaching and based upon bogus science. USARK faced adversity and never wavered. Thank you, Reptile Nation, for making it possible for the truth to be heard!

View the USARK brief at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Dkt-No-53-USARK-Supp-Brief-on-PI.pdf.

View the FWS brief at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Dkt-No-54-Def-Supp-Brief-on-PI.pdf.

Slinger Wisconsin Action Alert

Monday, May 18th at 6:00 PM: The Village of Slinger will be holding a third reading and possibly taking action on amendments concerning keeping exotic animals. Stakeholders and pet owners in or near Slinger should attend this meeting and voice their concerns. Remember to be civil and professional at all times while representing the herp community!

As is typical, the city council and citizens who support this ordinance have offered no scientific backing or statistics to support this ordinance. This is another fear-based ordinance founded upon bias and lack of education regarding the animals listed.

A draft ordinance can be seen here:
www.vi.slinger.wi.gov/vertical/sites/%7BD5D1A78E-0ECF-4A0F-902C-E66DCBAB6874%7D/uploads/04-03-2015_DRAFT_Keeping_Exotic_or_Wild_Animals.pdf

Agenda link below:
www.vi.slinger.wi.gov/vertical/sites/%7BD5D1A78E-0ECF-4A0F-902C-E66DCBAB6874%7D/uploads/vb_05-18-2015.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions and Lawsuit/Constrictor Rule Timeline
If you missed or have not yet read USARK's last newsletter filled with information and answers to questions regarding this issue, you can read it at www.usark.org/2015-blog/7129. Please take the time to view this and share the information.


Donate to the USARK Legal Defense Fund

Information for making donations online and via check/money order can be found at www.usark.org/reptile-defense-fund-2/. You can make one-time, weekly, monthly or annual donations. You can also include a message that will be posted on the Legal Defense Fund Donor Wall at www.usark.org/usark-announcement/reptile-defense-donor-wall/ for all to see. You can even choose to make your donation or donation amount anonymous. Thanks for your support as we battle FWS to restore the freedoms of the Reptile Nation.

Join RAACA 2.0 Today!

There is a new anytime RAACA! Check out the format for listing auctions to benefit USARK via RAACA USARK Auctions at www.facebook.com/groups/1623588901209232/. These auctions will allow donations at any time and not just during fundraiser events. Anyone can bid, donate and support the Reptile Nation!The new RAACA USARK Auctions have raised over $2,600. Thank you, RAACA, Jordan, Tammy, Houssam, Christine, donors and all the admins in this group!

Article written by USARK