EXPIRED: Montana City Ordinance

EXPIRED: See update at http://usark.org/press-releases/update-montana-city-ordinance/

WHERE:  Laurel, Montana

WHAT:  Proposed revisions to Laurel’s animal control ordinance uses the blanket terminology "constrictor snakes." The state of Montana currently prohibits many species of herps under MT ADC 12.6.2215. Placing additional species as prohibited is unnecessary. USARK has received notification from Laurel and Montana residents that a citywide ban on snakes may be the final goal.

The news story can be read here: http://www.laureloutlook.com/news/article_60ae3dec-8102-11e2-b449-001a4bcf887a.html


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Subject: NO on Banning constrictor snakes

Laurel Elected Officials and Emergency Services Committee members,

I write today to oppose proposed revisions to Laurel’s animal control ordinance using the blanket terminology "constrictor snakes." Most snakes are constricting species, including completely harmless corn snakes, kingsnakes and ball pythons. Many species of constricting snakes attain lengths less than 3' and girths no larger than your pinky finger. As proposed, using the blanket terminology of "constrictor snakes," this ordinance severely punishes responsible pet owners.

This legislation does not protect the citizens of Laurel, Montana but it does destroy the rights of hardworking and taxpaying citizens. An estimated 15,000 households in Montana have pet reptiles. The state of Montana already prohibits ownership of many species of reptiles and amphibians under MT ADC 12.6.2215. Listing additional species as prohibited is unnecessary.

As a longtime reptile keeper, I am proof that reptiles can be kept and managed in a safe and responsible way. While I understand your concern over public safety, statistically, you are over 110 times more likely to be killed by lightning than constricting snakes.

The reptile sector of the pet industry represents over $4,000,000 in annual revenue to Montana's small businesses. Reptiles purchased as pets require caging, food and other supplies. Reptiles are becoming mainstream pets as many people do not have time, space or funds to properly care for dogs and cats. Many households with pet reptiles contain multiple reptiles and restrictions should not be placed on the number of reptiles allowed, provided the owners keep the animals responsibly and humanely.

I implore you to restrain from revising the city ordinance by placing additional reptile species on the list already prohibited by the state of Montana and using the term "constrictor snakes." Further regulation is not required and only removes rights from Laurel, Montana citizens.

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