ACTION ALERT: Waynesboro, PA exotic animal ban and pet limit

ACTION ALERT disabled until further notice!

Be civil and professional at all times when communicating with officials!

SUMMARY: A ban on "restricting snakes" (their language) and much more! The lack of research is astounding! This proposal amends the zoning ordinance of Waynesboro, PA. Buried amongst a huge list of other amendments in a 190-page document is a ban on the possession of more than four (4) animals in any combination of species, except fish, in any household. There is also a blanket ban on “exotic animals” with a vague definition which specifically includes “python.” The proposal is below, as well as four ways to contact officials.

Hearing on April 19 at 6:40 PM
second floor of Council Chambers
55 East Main Street
Waynesboro, Pennsylvania

  1. Keeping of animals.
    1. Customary household pets shall be permitted in any district.  The keeping of domestic farm animals including a horse, pig, goat, chicken, cow, steer, sheep, buffalo, ostrich, or llama shall not be considered a permitted accessory use.  The keeping of exotic animals is not permitted in any district.
    2. Except for species of fish, it shall be unlawful to keep more than four (4) animals, in any combination, six (6) months or older on any premises, regardless of the number of owners, unless said premises is a zoo, kennel, aviary, pet shop or veterinary clinic which has received zoning approval to operate as such, as well as the appropriate licenses and/or certifications required for said operation.
    3. The proposed Section 62 (all of which is new, not just text in red) can be read at www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Waynesboro-PA-pet-ban.pdf.

Definitions:

  1. “Customary household pet” means an animal which is customarily kept for personal use and enjoyment within the home, including domestic dogs, domestic cats, domestic tropical birds, domestic rodents such as hamsters and gerbils, domestic tropical fish, turtles and guinea pigs. Exotic animals such as coyotes, bears, raccoons, venomous and restricting snakes, primates, alligators and crocodiles are not considered household pets.
  2. “Exotic animal” means an animal usually thought of as wild and foreign, not typically kept as a household pet, such as a lion, tiger, leopard, python, alligator, piranha or venomous snake.

ACTION 1: Comment through Waynesboro website

NOTE: The City has disabled comments via their website! Proceed to Steps 2-4!

  1. Complete the quick and simple form at www.waynesboropa.org/comments.
  2. Select "Complaint" or "Suggestion."
  3. Copy/paste the below message or similar:

NO to proposed Section 62 of the zoning ordinance titled "Keeping of animals." As a responsible pet owner, I oppose this amendment which displays a complete lack of research and knowledge on the matter. Please remove this Section from the proposal and conduct a workshop dealing only with animals, should you feel action must be taken. Burying it in this huge list of amendments is not how good government should work. Have a good day.

ACTION 2: Email the elected officials

  1. Copy/paste these email addresses:
  2. Copy/paste one of these subject lines, or similar: NO to Section 62!, NO to "Keeping of Animals" proposal!, NO to pet limit!, NO to broad exotic animal ban!
  3. Copy/paste the below message. It is best to edit slightly:

Dear Waynesboro Elected Officials,

I oppose the proposed section 62 titled "Keeping of animals" as a responsible pet owner and tax-paying citizen. The proposal is a blatant example of local government overreach, displaying an utter lack of research or knowledge on the matter.

According to a recent study from the American Pet Products Association (APPA), over 32% of American households have pet species other than dogs and cats, most of which qualify as "exotic pets." Also, many households responsibly keep more than four pets. This proposed change potentially affects 1/3 or more of Waynesboro's residents. It is not the role of elected officials to tell responsible citizens that they cannot have more than four pets, or common pet species such as ball pythons and other reptiles.

The proposal is so bad, it mentions "restricting snakes." This is not even a valid term! They are actually known as constricting or constrictor snakes, which encompasses non-venomous small and common pet species including corn snakes, milk snakes, rat snakes, ball pythons and sand boas. There is no validity or justification to this proposal!

The entirety of Section 62 needs to removed and re-written utilizing local experts and stakeholders. Burying it in this huge list of amendments and stating that it is "all or none" is indeed bad government.

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

Sincerely,

ACTION 3: Complete this quick and easy form to email elected officials

  1. Complete the required fields below (name, address, etc.)
  2. Enter the four character verification code
  3. OPTIONAL: You may personalize the message (Be civil and professional, and write appropriately!)
  4. Hit SEND
  5. You will see a successfully sent message at the top of the screen
  6. NOTE: Close page and reopen for each person!
  7. You just supported your pet community. THANKS!

ACTION 4: Call your elected officials!

  1. Local residents should call their elected officials (Mayor and Ward Representative) to voice opposition.
  2. Take talking points from any of the sample letters/comments we've provided.
  3. Phone numbers can be found at www.waynesboropa.org/council-and-boards.

Your Message

Subject: NO to Section 62

Waynesboro Mayor and Council Members,

I send this email stating my opposition to the proposed section 62 titled "Keeping of animals." As a responsible citizen and educated pet owner, I can tell you the proposal is an extreme example of local government overreach, clearly displaying a complete lack of research and knowledge on the subject.

To highlight just one example, the use of "restricting snakes" is not even valid terminology. These do not exist! They are constrictor or constricting snakes, consisting of dozens of common non-venomous pet species including the two most common which are corn snakes and ball pythons. There was obviously zero research or discussion with legitimate experts. This is just bad government!

How can you justify a limit of four pets per household? This is nothing but an unjust punishment upon responsible pet owners. This will do nothing to stop the problems associated with people who are irresponsible, or those who have mental health issues resulting in animal hoarding.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Game Commission already regulates "exotic wildlife." Anyone keeping these animals is already regulated and if someone is breaking a State law, he will certainly break a local law.

Please vote NO and oppose this unjust and misinformed proposal. Thanks for your time and consideration. Have a good day.


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