ACTION ALERT: Wausau, WI

UPDATE from 2/18/19: Good news! Thanks to all those who opposed this ordinance and educated officials, the proposal was not approved and another draft will be written. We will provide updates as they become available.

The City of Wausau, Wisconsin is proposing a ban on all constrictor snakes, venomous snakes including non-medically significant rear-fanged species such as hognose, and venomous invertebrates (no species named so should be read to include all tarantulas, scorpions, etc.). This proposal is included as part of a Public Health and Safety Committee response to an incident involving a pet fox that escaped and later bit a Community Service Officer. Constrictor snakes are included in the proposal due to a lack of understanding by officials, and propaganda provided by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

A public meeting is being held by the Wausau Public Health and Safety Committee to discuss this ordinance. We suggest that any local residents attend and voice their opposition by educating the officials about reptiles. It is important to always remember that the general public (including legislators) know little to nothing about herps, and often regard them fear and revulsion. Even worse, they often are provided misinformation by animal rights and fraudulent animal welfare groups which they accept as fact and legitimate science.

If you attend the meeting and are uncomfortable speaking, you can simply state, "I oppose a ban on constrictor snakes." The city already has a ban on venomous reptiles. The full proposed ban list is at the bottom of this page.

Meeting details:

Date/Time: Monday, February 18 at 4:30 PM.
Location: City Hall (407 Grant Street) - Council Chambers

IMPORTANT! For those planning to speak at the meeting, you will need to register with the Clerk by filling out the form linked below and may need to do so before the meeting begins (if they enforce their rule). If you might be late for the meeting, have someone else submit a form for you or contact the Clerk at 715-261-6620.

For the form, this is agenda item #3: Certain Creatures Forbidden.

Form LINK: www.ci.wausau.wi.us/Portals/0/Departments/Clerk/Documents/CitizensPreregistrationForm.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1ebLQY7JuiH_C3W_w-m4f6wSIDxdco65lVgaItQidGmxk9TuDlMH_RpW0

Wausau residents should call your City Council Alderperson ASAP. LINK: www.ci.wausau.wi.us/Departments/CityCouncil/Alderpersons.aspx

Sample letter/comment (Remember to be professional and civil at all times!)

Please edit or personalize the sample letter below.

Email list for Committee: lisa.rasmussen2@ci.wausau.wi.us, Patrick.Peckham@ci.wausau.wi.us, Karen.Kellbach@ci.wausau.wi.us, Becky.Mcelhaney@ci.wausau.wi.us, Dawn.Herbst@ci.wausau.wi.us

You can also submit comments at www.ci.wausau.wi.us/Home/ContactUs.aspx.

Sample Email subject lines:

  1. Opposition to Snake Ban
  2. Snake Ban is Unjust
  3. Vote NO to Overreaching Snake Ban

Sample Email:

As a responsible pet owner, I oppose Wausau's proposed ban on constrictor and all rear-fanged snakes. Passing this proposal has zero basis in fact but plenty of bias. Please listen to those who actually work with and keep these animals. This is of utmost importance as, unfortunately, officials are often provided with false information, pseudo-science, and made-up statistics provided by mislabeled "animal welfare" groups.

Is your goal to punish all responsible animal owners, ban common pets, and still not make Wausau better for its citizens, animals, or pet owners? That is what the current proposal will achieve.

Collective punishment is never the answer and a ban will make matters worse. When bans are in place, people take extra measures to hide the animals from authorities and neighbors, or discard the banned animals in problematic ways. A ban will actually create animal welfare and safety issues which will lead to the problems you claim to be preventing.

Who would imagine that common pet species would be illegal? You will be making criminals out of people who just want a pet and may not have the resources to properly care for a dog or cat. Or, they may have allergies to dogs and cats but no allergies to reptiles or other animals.

Illegal to own corn snakes and ball pythons? There are many tens of thousands of just these two species kept as pets in the U.S. and both are constrictor snakes. Over a hundred constrictor snakes species are pets in the U.S. Additionally, not all rear-fanged snakes are considered medically significant, such as hognose which are common pet species, and Wausau officials should consult true subject matter experts.

Reptile bans do unfortunately exist in some places and most date back several decades. However, many of these have been repealed or amended as lawmakers become properly educated on the animals. Passing a law simply because others have done it is never rational reasoning.

Thanks for your time and consideration on this complex matter. Hopefully, you will do what is right and sensible for Wausau, the animals, and responsible pet owners by not banning any constrictor snake species. Have a good day.

YOUR NAME

____________________________________________________________________________

The full proposed ban list is below:

(1) All venomous animals, reptiles including rear-fang snakes, arachnids and insects.
(2) Bears.
(3) Bees, wasps, hornets except honey bees kept in compliance with section 8.08.011
of this code.
(4) Bison.
(5) Camelids (llama, alpaca, camel).
(6) Canids (wolf, coyotes, foxes) except domesticated dogs.
(7) Cervids (white-tailed deer, elk, antelope, moose).
(8) Constrictor snakes.
(9) Crocodilians (alligators, crocodiles).
(10) Dasypodidae (anteaters, sloths, armadillos).
(11) Elephants.
(12) Felids (lions, tigers, cougars, cheetahs) except domesticated cats.
(13) Game cocks and other fighting birds.
(14) Hippopotomi.
(15) Hyenas.
(16) Marsupials (kangaroos, opossums).
(17) Mustelids (skunks, otters, badgers) except ferrets.
(18) Nonhuman primates and prosimians (chimpanzees, monkeys).
(19) Ostriches.
() Prairie dogs.
(20) Rhinoceroses.

We do not support a complete ban on crocodilians, either. We have yet to identify any stakeholders within Wausau but will provide alternatives to ban.

Article written by USARK