2014: Louisiana Senate Bill 357 Action Alert

Where: Louisiana State

What: Louisiana SB 357 seeks to ban constrictor and venomous snakes. The constrictor snakes listed below currently require a permit from LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (DW&F) once they reach 8' and can be kept by private keepers. This bill amends the current law and bans all species listed below, regardless of size. The bill also contains the vague language, "including but not limited to the following species." This previously placed regulations on any snake that surpassed 8' in length, but could now mean any constricting species of snake, even if the species is not listed in the law.

The venomous species below would also be illegal to keep and permits would not be available to private keepers. Only accredited institutions would be exempt (animal sanctuaries, zoos, aquariums, wildlife research centers, scientific organizations, and medical research facilities as defined by the U.S. Animal Welfare Act).

This is far overreaching, unconstitutional legislation that turns pet owners into criminals overnight. It would also lead to the immediate euthanization of all Burmese pythons, Southern African pythons, African Rock pythons and Yellow anacondas kept as pets as they are federally listed as injurious under the Lacey Act and cannot be legally transported out of state.

Banned Non-venomous snakes: Carpet and Diamond pythons, Papuan python, Olive python, Scrub python, Amethystine python, Southern African python, African Rock python, Indian and Burmese pythons, Reticulated python, Boa constrictors (all subspecies), and any species of Anaconda

Banned Venomous snakes: Families Viperidae (Pitvipers and Vipers), Elapidae (Cobras and Mambas), Hydrophiidae (Sea Snakes), Atractaspididae (Mole Vipers), as well as the genera Dispholidus, Thelotornis, and Rhabdophis of the Family Colubridae

View the bill text at www.legis.la.gov/Legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=879735.

How to Help: (Louisiana residents only, please)

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Your Message

Subject: No to SB 357

Dear Louisiana Legislator,

I write today to oppose SB357. This bill will punish responsible reptile keepers and is overreaching legislation. While I understand your concern over public safety, current law already regulates the species proposed to be banned through a permit system. Many species listed are commonly kept as pets. They are housed indoors and don't pose a public threat. Bills such as this only create problems that did not previously exist. It’s a shame that the great state of Louisiana would remove freedoms from taxpaying pet keepers.

Also, these species are not a threat to the environment. They cannot establish themselves in Louisiana as the climate is not acceptable. Extreme southern Florida is the only environment in the continental U.S. that allows a minuscule number of exotic species to barely survive in the wild.

This unconstitutional bill would turn hundreds, possibly thousands, of your constituents into criminals overnight. Making criminals out of responsible citizens while wasting money and resources to force a specific agenda certainly does not seem American. The bill would also lead to immediate euthanization of four species of snakes listed as they cannot be legally transported out of state due to a federal listing as injurious under the Lacey Act. Pets would be killed for no valid reason.

With so many critical dilemmas in our country including poverty, failing education system, hunger, shortage of jobs and pollution, why are states focusing so many resources to “fix” problems that don’t even exist? State governments should be fixing real issues and not removing more freedoms from their taxpaying citizens to satisfy out-of-state pressure groups. I ask you to vote “No” on SB357.

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