Action Alert: Maine HP 499

The Maine herp community has been working for years to make the current overbearing system less restrictive for responsible pet keepers. HP 499 (LD 746) has been introduced and will hopefully go to hearing next week. Let legislators know you support this bill!

The current law requires importation and ownership permits for most herps. This bill would require permits for a greatly reduced list of species. The Action Alert below provides all the details to contact legislators and let them know you support this pro-herp legislation.

View HP 499 at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Maine-LD-746-2015.pdf.

View the current regulation at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Maine-Exotic-Animal-Law.pdf.

Legislator contacts (additional contact information at bottom of page):

Below are email addresses for the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Copy and paste these emails. It is best to send individual emails, but you may copy them all. Additional contact information (mailing addresses and phone numbers) can be found at the bottom of this page).

Michael.Shaw@legislature.maine.govRobert.Alley@legislature.maine.govPatrick.Corey@legislature.maine.gov,

Dale.Crafts@legislature.maine.govMatthew.Dana@legislature.maine.govGary.Hilliard@legislature.maine.gov,

Peter.Lyford@legislature.maine.govDanny.Martin@legislature.maine.govRoger.Reed@legislature.maine.gov,

Stanley.Short@legislature.maine.govStephen.Wood@legislature.maine.govPaul.Davis@legislature.maine.gov,

David.Dutremble@legislature.maine.govScott.Cyrway@legislature.maine.govHenry.Beck@legislature.maine.gov,

Craig.Hickman@legislature.maine.govStanley.Short@legislature.maine.govThomas.Longstaff@legislature.maine.gov,

andre@andrecushing.com, Heather.Macklin@legislature.maine.gov

Copy/paste one of these subject lines (or write similar):

  1. HP 499 Ought To Pass
  2. YES on HP 499
  3. Please Vote YES on HP 499
  4. MAINE Says YES to HP 499
  5. HP 499 = YES
  6. I Support HP 499

Talking Points (these should be used to strengthen emails, phone calls and testimonies)

  1. The expansive current list of species requiring permits is burdensome not only for pet owners, but additionally for DIFW officials.
  2. Rather than officials only needing to be familiar with a few species that the State feels may warrant permits, they must be knowledgeable regarding hundreds of species.
  3. Maine's extreme environment does not allow for exotic herps (reptiles and amphibians collectively) to survive in the wild, so environmental impact is not a concern.
  4. There are over 5.6 million households in America with pet reptiles and the Maine pet reptile community is faced with overbearing restrictions not seen by most other Americans.
  5. The Maine Herpetological Society (MHS) and its members have worked with DIFW since 2006 in an attempt to streamline the inadequate permit system. Today the MHS pledges its support to LD 746 as a solution to the permit problem as it regards reptiles and amphibians.
  6. Other states, including New Hampshire, have allowed non-indigenous reptiles and amphibians to be kept without permits for many years without negative ecological or safety consequences. The reptile segment of the pet industry has generated millions of dollars in sales in those states and created jobs.
  7. The reptile segment of the pet industry generates over $1.4 billion annually in the U.S. but Maine's over-restrictive law hampers the economic impact in our state.
  8. The captive bred reptile industry has experienced robust growth across the country. Maine, with a population base that has a strong heritage in responsible animal husbandry, is prevented from participating in this growth due to a flawed permit system.
  9. By expanding reptile propagation, people raising the feeder animals for this business will grow proportionally as the industry grows, expanding grain sales.
  10. By expanding the number of entrepreneurs who raise these animals in Maine, shipping businesses will see a growth in outbound overnight delivery services.
  11. The Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife has attempted to improve the permit system on three separate occasions, using three separate committees since 2007. Each attempt has failed to accomplish its goals. ( See LD 1225 for the most recent failed attempt which concluded in 2014).
  12. Entrepreneurs are being blocked from growing their businesses because the current permit system is operated in an arbitrary & non-analytical fashion.
  13. It is often cited that the current permit fees do not cover the labor intensive process of researching the species in question and issuing permits. LD 746 would eliminate this activity and its associated expenses around reptiles & amphibians, and allow the Department to focus on its core programs.
  14. LD 746 repairs a bureaucratic permit system that currently inflicts a barrier to a more robust Maine economy and appropriate laws for responsible pet owners.

Sample letter (be sure to personalize and/or insert talking points):

As a tax-paying Maine resident and responsible pet owner, I am voicing my support for HP 499 (LD 746). Maine currently has an over-burdensome permit system, for both state officials and pet owners. The State is far behind most other states that have lighter restrictions on the commonly kept species of reptiles and amphibians.

The current system is wasting tax payers' money and state officials' time as it does not even pay for itself and ties up valuable state resources that could be used for Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife core mission and programs. Maine's herpetological community has been working with officials to implement a suitable system for years that is acceptable by both the State and pet owners.

This bill is the answer and it "ought to pass"! I hope you’ll recognize that this new system is good for Maine and its citizens and I ask you to say YES to HP 499. Thank you for your time and consideration on behalf of this voting Maine resident and have a good day.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME and ADDRESS or Contact information

Mailing Addresses and Phone Numbers:

Additional contact information for the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife can be found at the link below. Just click on the names of the legislators at the link.

www.maine.gov/legis/house/jt_com/ifw.htm

Article written by USARK