NRAAC Law Symposium, Lawsuit and Action Alerts

National Reptile & Amphibian Advisory Council (NRAAC) Law Symposium

The Reptile and Amphibian Law Symposium & Workshop will be held March 7-8 in Washington, D.C. This is an essential event for anyone interested in the impact of law and regulation on the keeping, breeding, care, and conservation of reptiles and amphibians.

The conference will include two days of panels, workshops, breakout sessions and talks with the goal of bringing all parties interested in reptiles, amphibians and the law together for productive discussion. The event will cover issues with current and proposed herp laws and regulations at the local, state, federal, and international levels. Registration for the event is free but limited. You may register at and additional information on the event can be found at

This event is being organized by the National Reptile Amphibian Advisory Council (NRAAC), with the assistance of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV), Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK), and George Washington University Law School Animal Law Program. If you are interested in volunteering or assisting in this event, please send an email to

Moderators, Panelists, and Speakers: 

  • Jeff Barringer - Founder, Chairman NRAAC Steering Committee
  • Craig Hoover - Chief, Wildlife Trade and Conservation Branch, United States Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Rick Sayers - Chief, Division of Environmental Review, United States Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Tim Van Norman - Chief, Branch of Permits, Division of Management Authority, United States Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Thomas Leuteritz - Biologist, Division of Scientific Authority, United States Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Marshall Meyers - Senior Adviser, Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council
  • Steve Olson - Government Affairs, Association of Zoos & Aquariums
  • Wilbur B. Amand, VMD - Executive Director, Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians
  • Dr. Elliott Jacobson - Association Reptile Amphibian Veterinarians / University of Florida
  • Joan Schaffner - Associate Professor of Law, George Washington University Animal Law
  • Phil Goss - President, United States Association of Reptile Keepers
  • Joan Galvin - Lead Lobbyist, United States Association of Reptile Keepers/Kelley Drye
  • Scott Hardin - Biologist, Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council
  • Dr. Jennifer Wright - Center For Disease Control and Prevention
  • Joni Scheftel, DVM - Minnesota Department of Health
  • Dr. Karen R Lips - University of Maryland, Department of Biology
  • Ken Foose - President, International Herp Symposium, President, Southern Nevada Herp Society
  • Cindy Steinle - Vice President, Chicago Herpetological Society, Owner, Small Scale Rescue
  • Ty Park - Lasco Inc., Owner, Ty's Lizards
  • Glen Jacobsen - Attorney, World Chelonian Trust, Minnesota Herp Society
  • Marc Cantos - Florida Reptile Industry, Owner, The Turtle Source
  • Doug Hotle - Curator of Herpetology, Albuquerque Biological Park
  • Eugene Bessette - Florida Reptile Industry, Owner, Ophiological Services
  • Priya Nanjappa - Partners in Amphibian & Reptile Conservation/Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
  • Wayne Hill - National Reptile Breeders Expo
  • Kamuran Tepedelen - Owner, Bushmaster Reptiles
  • Richard Fife - Riparian Farms
  • Bonnie Keller - VA Reptile Rescue
Event Schedule

Day 1 - Friday, March 7, 2014

  • 8am - International Laws/CITES - Import/Export
  • 10am - What Is The Lacey Act and its Role
  • 12pm - Lunch Break
  • 1pm - Organisms in Trade and Invasive Species Issues
  • 3pm - Endangered Species & Conservation
  • 5pm - Dinner Break

Day 2 - Saturday, March 8, 2014

  • 9am - Salmonella and it's impact on the Law
  • 10am - Food & feeder health, safety, & regulation
  • 11am - Chytrid and it's impact on the Law
  • 12pm - Lunch Break
  • 1pm - State Laws on Reptiles & Amphibians
  • 3pm - The Role of Rescue and the Shelter System
  • 4pm - Dinner Break

This event is open to all parties with an interest in reptiles, amphibians, and the law, including but not limited to:

  • Reptile Owners & Hobbyists
  • Reptile Breeders & Businesses
  • Reptile Rescues & Wildlife Rehab Centers
  • Pet Stores
  • Zoological Institutions
  • Primary & Secondary Educational Institutions
  • Colleges & Universities
  • Local Animal Control Agencies
  • State Fish & Wildlife/Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Other State Agencies
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • US Dept of Agriculture/APHIS
  • National/Local Conservation Organizations
  • Other Federal Agencies

ACTION ALERT: West Virginia
Your legislators need to hear from you!

West Virginia House Bill 4393: The bill seeks to form a Dangerous Wild Animal Board which will have rulemaking authority (no public input) to list any species as a “dangerous wild animal.” View the Action Alert at The bill is scheduled for its third reading in the House and opposition needs to be voiced.

Your legislators must hear from you! They have heard plenty from the anti-pet groups that are pushing this bill. The below reptiles have been proposed to be on the initial list of prohibited species:
  • Conststricting snakes including boa constrictor (boa constrictor), all subspecies, anaconda (eunectes murinus), indian python (python molurus), reticulate python (python reticulatus), rock python (python sebae);
  • Alligators (family alligatoridae);
  • Poisonous snakes including cobras, coral snakes (family elapidae), sea snakes (family hydrophidae), adders, vipers (family viperidae), pit vipers (family crotalidae), all venomous rear-fanged species (family colubridae);
USARK Federal Lawsuit Update

On Friday (2/21/14), there was a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and S. Jewell, as Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. This was expected and USARK has been preparing for this action. We will have details, an analysis and next steps very soon to keep everyone informed. We appreciate your support on this crucial issue!
Your legislators need to hear from you!

Wisconsin AB 703: This bill makes changes to the laws relating to the possession of certain wild animals and forces financial burdens upon municipalities by requiring them to administer and fund the new regulations without state assistance. It impacts these reptile species: Crocodylia: an alligator of any species, crocodile of any species, caiman of any species, or gharial. View the ACTION ALERT at

West Virginia Senate Bill 428: The bill seeks to form a Dangerous Wild Animal Board which will have rulemaking authority (no public input) to list any species as a “dangerous wild animal.” View the Action Alert at

West Virginia Senate Bill 371: The purpose of this bill is to prohibit the possession of wild and exotic animals (including herps) through a permit system, providing rulemaking authority (no public input) to authorities. View the Action Alert at

Virginia Senate Bill 50
Virginia SB 50 would allow species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as pets. Listed species are already regulated at the national level but Virginia has a more restrictive law that makes it illegal to own these species. View details and text of the bill at Read a related article at

Virginia residents should contact Lewis Waskey at for additional information and details on how you may assist.

SB50 is scheduled to be heard 2/26/14 at 8:30 AM by the Agriculture Committee.

Additional State Issues
Other 2014 proposed legislation and information can be found at This includes bills in Maryland, Indiana, New Jersey, New York and Oregon. This page is updated regularly and makes it easy to follow 2014 issues.

News and Upcoming Events

David Northcott Health Battle: Dave is a remarkable person, award-winning photographer and cherished member of the herp community. He is battling a heart condition and has been informed he will need a transplant. You can support him at We wish you well, Dave.

Cancer Battle: A fellow herper, Patrick Gerbert (TattooedGiants Reticulated Pythons), is battling stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A fundraising page has been started at Also, Travis Kubes and others are holding auctions on the Retic Nation Facebook page ( to benefit Patrick. We wish you the best in your fight, Patrick.

NARBC Tinley Park: March 15-16. NARBC once again brings top vendors from across the country to Illinois. Be sure to attend the USARK/PIJAC benefit auction, held Saturday night, to protect your rights to keep reptiles and amphibians as pets. NARBC raised over $100,000 to support the pet community and Rico Walder in 2013. Get all the details at

Cin City Reptile Show: March 9th in Mason, OH. More details at

Kentucky Reptile Expo: March 8th in Louisville, KY. More details at

Indianan Reptile Breeders' Expo: March 16th in Clarksville, IN and March 23rd in Richmond, IN. More details at

Pacific NW Reptile and Exotic Animal Show:  March 29-30 in Hillsboro, OR. The PACNWRS is a public trade show exhibiting over 100 vendor booths offering exotic animals and their related merchandise. In addition to animals and products for sale, there are educational reptile and exotic mammal displays for the whole family. Get all the details at and

Texas Rattlesnake Festival: This inaugural event will happen March 8-9 in Round Rock, TX. Share and spread the word. This is an educational event and no snakes will be harmed. This needs to be the future of rattlesnake-related events. Help make it a reality! More details at and

OKC Elite Reptile Show: After a great first show, the second OKC Elite show hits Oklahoma City on May 3-4. More information will be posted at

Snake Days: May 30, 31 & June 1 in Sanderson, Texas. Great educational lectures, field herping, photo contest, clean highways project and more. Get the details at and

Biology of The Pitvipers Symposium: June 4-7 in Tulsa, OK. Learn more at and

Article written by USARK