In session next week to hear over a disasterous bill VA SB477 is a bill about "Dangerous Wild Animals". While some of the bill has some applications to Virgina and some beneficiary things inside of it, there is one part of it that has reptile enthusiasts such as mself reeling. One part of the bill has added anacondas, boa constrictors, burmese pythons, reticulated pythons, and several others to their listing of "Dangerous Wild Animals". this list is to define animals that are illegal as well as to posses. It states that these animals are to be seized from owners, placed in zoos or wildlife sanctuaries, or humanely euthanized.All of the other species on this list are things like bears, pit vipers, red wolves... etc. actual wild caught animals that people don't often have and in my personal opinion should have in their homes.
By placing animals that have been captively bred and domesticated for generations, and that have been commonly available in the pet trade for decades on this list, is wreckless and irresponsible. How many zoos will want animals that could be purchased at pet stores? these animals will not have places to go. they will be needlessly killed.
Creating laws that force owners to forfeit common domestic companion animals will open up the road for future breed and species specific legislaton.In the United States less than 0.4 human deaths a year have been reported to be caused by large snakes, that is a total of 3 people per year die from large snake related fatalities. If they can be deemed "dangerous", what will be next? (many more human deaths are caused by dogs, and they have wanted to legislate breed restrictions and bans for years)
please, even if you do not love or even like snakes- understand that many of us do. we love our pets. they do not deserve to be taken away and euthanized. Please help us.
how you can help. from VA Reptile Rescue:
The Virginia State assembly is known for having one of the largest numbers of pieces of new legislation each year. The effect of this is that they don't have time to read ANY OF THEM. They depend on the short paragraph explaining the bill, and the opinion of their interns who do read them (well, they try). This means they have no idea of the wording of these bills, or the actual possible results of these becoming law. When they go to committee, they are supposed to be read by those on that committee, but again, experience has shown that it still doesn't happen. When it goes to sub-committee (if it does), it supposed to be read - it still sometimes isn't, if it's a long bill. The only way for these folks to know what is in some of these bills is for the public to read them, catch the problems, and complain. I know, that's not how it should be - but it is reality.
CALL your local representatives, email them, fax them, and send letters. MAKE LOTS OF NOISE. Call or email everyone in VA that you know that has reptiles and get them to DO THE SAME, even if they don't have large constrictors.
Still not on tomorrow's docket, so it will probably be next Thursday. CALL, CALL, CALL the above folks! EMAIL, FAX, ETC. The more they hear us, the less likely they are to ignore us.
When you call, simply say, "I want to register an opinion on SB 477." The intern or womever is answering (it won't be the senator) will respond, and you simply say, "Please tell the senator to vote no. This bill will negatively affect my family (or your job if that applies to you!)" That's all you need to say on the phone. In email/letters/faxes, go into greater details, using the bullet points I mention below.
When calling or writing, make these points:
* you agree that the public should be protected from wild and dangerous animals
* the animals in question do not all qualify as wild and dangerous - some of them qualify as domesticated livestock or companions
* you respectfully concede that the representative in question has a difficult job, and that you realize that he/she may not have actually read the bill to know these issues, so you appreciate their time as you explain the problems with the legislation
* the legislation may have the unintended consequence of having more people decide to release their pets rather than have them confiscated or euthanized
* how will this be paid for?
* the statistics across the US do not show any instances of released pet reptiles causing injuries or death to anyone
* the statistics across the US show that horses are the #1 cause of pet animal-related injuries and deaths, but they are not being included in this legislation
* REMEMBER TO BE POLITE, BE PROFESSIONAL, BE THOUGHTFUL.
from Wm Taylor, on the USARK Facebook page (THANK YOU!):
Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. (R) - Senate District 24 firstname.lastname@example.org (804) 698-7524
Senator John C. Watkins (R) - Senate District 10 email@example.com (804) 698-7510
Phillip P. Puckett (D) - Senate District 38 (804) 698-7538 firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Frank M. Ruff, Jr. (R) - Senate District 15 (804) 698-7515 email@example.com
Senator Harry B. Blevins (R) - Senate District 14 (804) 698-7514 firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Mark D. Obenshain (R) - Senate District 26 (804) 698-7526 email@example.com
Senator A. Donald McEachin (D) - Senate District 9 (804) 698-7509 firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator J. Chapman Petersen (D) - Senate District 34 (804) 698-7534 email@example.com
Senator Ralph S. Northam (D) - Senate District 6 (804) 698-7506 firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Richard H. Stuart (R) - Senate District 28 (804) 698-7528 email@example.com
Senator David W. Marsden (D) - Senate District 37 (804) 698-7537 firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator William M. Stanley, Jr. (R) - Senate District 20 (804) 698-7520 email@example.com
Senator Richard H. Black (R) - Senate District 13 (804) 698-7513 firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator John C. Miller (D) - Senate District 1 (804) 698-7501 email@example.com
Senator Adam P. Ebbin (D) - Senate District 30 (804) 698-7530 firstname.lastname@example.org
I am calling on all of you. PLEASE help us stop this state from passing a law that will place many pets in danger, destroy livelihoods, and place law abiding citizens in the wrong for doing nothing more than having the same pets we have had for years.
the bill so you can read it yourself.
(cross posted from online facebook user and friend, please distribute and pass this on.)
A link to a response from a small business located in Virginia http://reptilesalive.com/news/2012/01/19/response-to-proposed-senate-bill-no-477/