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ACTION ALERT: Dunedin, Florida

UPDATE:

12/17/14: Tomorrow, the Dunedin City Commission will remove all language regarding snakes from their ordinance, also preventing a proposed ban on constrictor snakes over 4'. Per their official memorandum for tomorrow's meeting received by USARK:

"All references to snakes are removed."

12/4/14: The Dunedin ordinance was tabled as the Commission needs to review all the information they received today. USARK made them aware of a major issue (see below). At the meeting, it was also noted that hundreds of emails were sent in opposition to this ordinance. That’s from you, Reptile Nation! Thanks to everyone who used our Action Alerts and shared them. We will keep you updated.

You can view our written testimony at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Dunedin-Letter.pdf.  You can read an additional update at http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=d7e8c81109173978c4240862c&id=3e873c4c3a&e=925750ed65.

“In summary, Section 9, Article IV [of the Constitution of the State of Florida] bestows FWC with the exclusive authority to exercise all of the state's regulatory power over all wildlife, including captive native and non-native animals kept as pets. Hence, a municipality is precluded from regulating or prohibiting the possession of wildlife within its corporate limits.”


Dunedin, Florida will likely pass a ban on nearly all snakes unless they hear resistance. Tomorrow (12/4/14) at 6:30 PM the revised ordinance will be heard and could pass including a ban on nearly all snakes. There is already a ban on "poisonous" snakes, but they plan to amend the ordinance to add all constrictor snakes over 4' in length.

Any locals should attend the meeting (address below) and speak against this absurdly over-reaching ordinance. If you are unsure what to say, there is plenty of information in our Action Alert to form a statement.

Remember to be civil and professional at all times! Any other behavior will only harm our community and our efforts.

The proposed language is:

"It shall be unlawful for any person to keep, harbor or maintain any live poisonous snakes or constrictor snakes greater than four (4) feet in length within the city, either as domestic pets or for a commercial purpose."

Meeting location and time:

12/4/2014 at 6:30 PM
542 Main Street
Dunedin, Florida 34698

The proposed ordinance is viewable at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Dunedin-Proposed-Ordinance-2014.pdf. "Poisonous snakes" are already in the ordinance. The new language is snakes over 4'.

This is a regulation that can be challenged, but it would be much easier to stop it from being passed. If passed, it could still cause issues for locals who are not aware of Section 9, Article IV of the Florida State Constitution preventing the state legislature, counties or municipalities from promulgating statutes or local ordinances that regulate or prohibit the possession of wild animals. As planned, this was included in our testimony to the city.

EXPIRED



Your Message

Subject: Snake Ban is Unconstitutional

Dear Dunedin City Commission,

There is no valid reason to introduce this ban. As a Florida resident who will be affected by your proposed snake ban, I urge you not to add a ban on constrictor snakes. Your proposed ban on constrictor snakes over 4 feet in length has absolutely no scientific or rational support. Nearly all snakes are constrictors and snakes at 4 feet in length weigh only 2-3 pounds. This ban will end many educational opportunities involving these animals. Properly supervised educational outreach programs can have tremendously positive impacts upon students.

Snakes of 4 feet, and even larger, cannot seriously harm a human or anything larger than a rat. A public safety risk is not a concern, especially since the public does not come into contact with animals kept by private owners. The large species of snakes are already regulated by the State.

Fortunately for Dunedin, the State has laws in place and no additional restriction is required. Florida already has strict regulations in place for large species of constrictor snakes and venomous snakes. The State has invested major resources into developing what they feel is best for Florida's environment and residents.

Bans simply are not the answer and bans often lead to more problems than they attempt to resolve. This includes the euthanization of animals that were perfectly healthy but must now be killed as new homes for them cannot be found. Rather than killing their pets, some owners may even release their pets as they feel that is what may be best for their beloved pets.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Have a good day.


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