West Virginia House Bill 4393

THIS PAGE IS INACTIVE

THIS BILL HAS BEEN PASSED INTO LAW

We will have a new page and information regarding this soon as there is still a fight in WV!

Where: West Virginia State

What: West Virginia House Bill 4393, "Dangerous Wild Animal Act," was introduced on February 3, 2014. Find the bill and more information at www.usark.org/2014-blog/2014-west-virginia-house-bill-4393/. Briefly, this bill would require a permit and would "grandfather" current animals for permit holders, but species listed cannot be bred or replaced. Essentially, these species would disappear from West Virginia and this is far overreaching legislation that could include common pets such as Ball pythons. The proposed list of reptiles to be prohibited includes all constrictor snakes over 6', all venomous snakes, alligators and caiman.

Below you can find a sample letter and easy contact form for the sponsors and committee members. Remember to always be professional and civil when addressing legislators and commenting publicly. Residents should contact other pet owners, herp societies, potentially affected businesses, 4H clubs, etc. to organize and make an impact. This is being pushed by anti-pet groups.

Status: Passed in the House and Senate and sent to Judiciary on 3/3/14.

How you can help: You can fight for your rights (West Virginia residents must be the voices heard but feel free to comment if you have a relevant experience from similar legislation in your state):

  1. Complete the required fields (name, address, etc.)
  2. Enter the four character verification code
  3. OPTIONAL: You may personalize the message (PLEASE be civil 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. Share this page by simply using the links below or copying/pasting the URL
  8. You just sent emails to the South Carolina Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs members. THANKS!
  9. You should also send a comment to Governor Tomblin at www.governor.wv.gov/Pages/SubmitaCommenttotheGovernor.aspx.
  10. Share this alert with West Virginia residents! Share this page by simply using the link icons below or copying/pasting the URL: http://usark.org/campaign/west-virginia-house-bill-4393/.

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Your Message

Subject: Please VETO HB 4393

Dear Governor Tomblin,

As a responsible pet owner, I oppose HB 4393, the "Dangerous Wild Animal Act." Similar legislation to House Bill 4393 passed in Ohio has cost the state millions of dollars. This includes a $2.9 million housing facility for beloved pets that could no longer be kept by owners. This bill will punish responsible reptile and exotic animal keepers and is overreaching legislation pushed by anti-pet groups that use special interest propaganda filled with partial truths. This is unconstitutional and far overreaching legislation.

Pet snakes do not pose a public safety threat. They are housed indoors and there has never been a member of the general public killed by a large snake. Only 10 deaths from large snakes are documented since 1990 in the entire United States. At least one of these cases is noted as fraudulent. Bills such as this only create problems that did not previously exist.

Education before legislation is of utmost importance, especially when impacting the lives of so many pet owners. For example, many constrictor snake species at 6' in length weigh less than ten pounds and pose threats to only feeder rodents. That is hardly a "dangerous wild animal." Even larger snakes pose no threat as they are housed inside and in secure housing. Please listen to your constituents and get the full truth about reptiles as pets.

These species are also not a threat to the environment. They cannot establish themselves in West Virginia 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. The Burmese python population has been in southern Florida since 1991 and has not moved north.

An estimated 30,000 residents in West Virginia responsibly own reptiles. This legislation does not protect the citizens of West Virginia but it does punish them.

This type of legislation is pushed by anti-pet groups posing as animal welfare organizations. Animal cruelty should certainly be addressed, but banning and over-regulating pet ownership are not effective means to handle this concern. It’s a shame that the great state of West Virginia would allow special interest groups to influence public policy and not protect the freedoms of its citizens.

Please consider your constituents and their freedoms. Pet ownership is a matter of personal responsibility and not government action. I implore you to veto HB 4393.


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